PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- The Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) assumed training responsibilities in support of U.S. Cyber Command’s (USCYBERCOM) Cyber Mission Force (CMF), Oct. 1
Today, networks are a warfighting platform and force multiplier for commanders. The CMF ensures commanders can maintain the freedom to operate in cyberspace and accomplish their missions in defense of the nation’s interests via three primary avenues:
1) Defensive Cyberspace Operations: Missions intended to preserve the ability to utilize friendly cyberspace capabilities and protect data, networks, net-centric capabilities, and other designated systems.
2) Offensive Cyberspace Operations: Missions intended to project power in and through cyberspace through the employment of cyberspace capabilities.
3) Department of Defense (DoD) Information Network Operations: Missions and tasks to design, build, configure, secure, operate, maintain, and sustain the DoD information network and supporting networks.
The DoD’s recently released Cyber Strategy outlines, “We are engaged in a long-term strategic competition with China and Russia. These States have expanded that competition to include persistent campaigns in and through cyberspace that pose long-term strategic risk to the Nation as well as to our allies and partners.”
Under Title 10 of the United States Code outlining responsibilities to man, train, and equip, Senate Bill 1376, which became the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016, directed the services to adopt and sustain the training of USCYBERCOM’s CMF, previously a task centrally funded and maintained by USCYBERCOM.
As USCYBERCOM officially gains combatant command status, alongside the more familiar regional commands like U.S. Central Command and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, USCYBERCOM relinquishes training responsibilities to the individual services.
“This is a long-term competition. More like an infinite game rather than a finite game,” shared Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson in a recent speech at the Defense News conference. “It’s necessary but not sufficient to be competitive. We also want to be winning this.”
In support of the CMF, the Navy is leveraging national-level training opportunities within the CIWT domain and further expanding and adapting its technical training pipeline both here in Pensacola, Florida, and in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The goal is to train not only Navy Sailors destined for the CMF but U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard service members as well.
“The operational need for a well-trained and motivated cyber mission force will continue to grow in the coming years,” said Capt. Nick Andrews, CIWT’s commanding officer. “Most importantly, we must train and build fully operational cyber mission forces…ready to be employed. With adversaries continuously trying to disrupt our diplomatic, information, military, economic, and political systems at speeds never before seen, this training is paramount to our country’s success. The entire CIWT team is aligned to support this effort and will remain nimble enough to meet the training needs within this highly-specialized and fast-moving mission area.”
This expansion of current training infrastructure will add approximately 700 new students to the CIWT domain as well as the support and training staff to teach them with the possibility of more as the Navy expands on its own service-specific defensive cyber training needs.
“The number one mission the Navy has in peacetime is training for war,” said Capt. Mike LeBu, CIWT’s CMF training lead. “One could argue the war in cyberspace is ongoing and persistent, but regardless of whether we are engaged now or in the future, the Navy and our service partners in the U.S. Marine Corp and U.S. Coast Guard will need the best training we can deliver to not only win, but to dominate in this domain. The training CIWT is standing up will meet that need and provide the combatant commanders we support with the Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guard personnel ready to carry out any assigned mission in support of the nation’s national security needs.”
CIWT delivers trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services, enabling optimal performance of information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.
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