FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (NNS) – U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet (FCC/C10F) celebrated its 10th anniversary during a ceremony held at its headquarters Jan. 29.
During the ceremony, Fleet Cyber Command’s Deputy Commander, Rear Adm. Jim Butler, addressed the staff.
“The strategic environment our nation faces requires a more experienced, better trained, and more capable force of information warriors. We need a force able to operate and win in the information environment before the physical fight ever begins,” said Butler. “Your high-end expertise will be a key element of that force of the future. The contributions you make, every day, save lives, defeat adversaries, and win wars. Your successes have been lauded at the highest echelons of our Navy.”
10th Fleet was first created 77 years ago to overcome a new and significant challenge to American security that took the form of German U-boats. It was a command without missiles or ships, but it had a global responsibility to protect American forces and American trade. The command’s success depended less on manned and massed fire power than on intelligence and information. With no permanently assigned assets, 10th Fleet turned the tide in the Atlantic submarine war with audacity, vision, and partnerships. The command was disbanded in 1945 after the surrender of Germany.
In May 2009, the White House Cyberspace Policy Review stated, “America’s failure to protect cyberspace is one of the most urgent national security problems facing the new administration.”
Two months later, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates unveiled his plan for military cyberspace operations. In a memo to the Secretaries of the Armed Forces, he wrote, “Our increasing dependency on cyberspace, alongside a growing array of cyber threats and vulnerabilities, adds a new element of risk to our national security. To address this risk effectively and to secure freedom of action in cyberspace, the Department of Defense requires a command that possesses the required technical capability and remains focused on the integration of cyberspace operations. Further, this command must be capable of synchronizing war-fighting effects across the global security environment as well as providing support to civil authorities and international partners.”
In the same fashion that the historic 10th Fleet enabled the prosecution of the U-Boat threat and ensured access to the shipping lanes of the Atlantic, FCC and the modern 10th Fleet were stood up to enable the prosecution of threats in cyber space and ensure the Navy and the Nation had freedom of movement in cyberspace.
The Navy commissioned FCC and recommissioned 10th Fleet on Jan. 29, 2010, to confront the new challenge to our nation’s security. FCC/C10F would carry on the legacy of the former Naval Computer and Telecommunications Command, Naval Security Group and Naval Space Command that had rolled into Naval Network Warfare Command in unifying warfighting capabilities — cryptologic/signals intelligences, information operations, electronic warfare, network operations and space capabilities — converging them with the cyber domain.
“It was important to figure out how to operationalize all aspects of cyber,” said retired Vice Adm. Barry McCullough, the first commander of FCC/C10F. “The CNO (Chief of Naval Operations), Adm. Gary Roughead, tasked me with operationalizing cyber to include electronic warfare and space, which was a huge challenge. There were 27 commands and 17 thousand folks, all working for different organizations and all of a sudden, we put out an operational order and they all worked for us. It was a challenge to try to get all aspects of cyber funneled to one commander, to operate and defend the networks, and execute missions as defined by a sub-unified command, U.S. Cyber Command.”
With the creation of this new command and reestablishment of a numbered fleet, a challenge arose in integration with the rest of the Navy.
“The biggest challenge that I had, besides putting a staff together from scratch, was to explain to the rest of the Navy why we were important, why we suddenly established U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and reestablished 10th Fleet,” said retired Fleet Master Chief Christopher Welch, FCC/C10F’s first fleet master chief. “The Navy needed to know what had changed in the aspect of Navy networks, cryptology, communications, and network security. There were many challenges in those opening days, as far as both putting together the organization and identifying the issues that we had and then explaining why it was important to ship and submarines, the aircraft and shore commands and all the fleet commanders.”
McCullough, a Surface Warfare officer, said the CNO “wanted me to take the capability that had been developed in all aspects of the business and operationalize it to defend and execute missions, as defined by fleet commanders in the sub-unified command. Operational folks have a different take on how operations should be conducted rather than somebody that has been an IS (Information Specialist) or CT (Cryptologic Technician) or net operator. That’s what CNO was looking for at the time; to get an operational aspect and execution into what had been a support function prior to that.”
During McCullough’s tenure, the command and control structure of FCC/C10F had been streamlined. Both operational control and administrative control were resident under one command.
“I thought it was a huge victory and it took a lot of work,” said McCullough.
Retired Adm. Mike Rogers, the second commander of FCC/C10, took what was a basic structure at the time and made it operational.
“When I came in, my focus was on how we transition from this basic idea to something that’s operational and capable of executing the mission,” said Rogers. “That was my focus for the two and a half years. My focus really was so you’ve got a basic structure, and now you’ve got to operationalize, you’ve got to make it real and you’ve got to turn it into a war-fighting organization.”
Retired Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, the third commander of FCC/C10F, reflected on her tour leading 10th Fleet.
“When I got to Fleet Cyber Command, initially as the deputy for a few months, the command was just coming out of Operation Rolling Tide,” said Tighe. “It was the first major breach of an operational network since the establishment of US Cyber Command and Fleet Cyber Command. Another thing that happened that summer was the Snowden incident. On the SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) side, we were dealing with a whole lot of risk mitigation.”
During this time, FCC/C10F worked on strengthening both offensive and defensive capabilities and created cyber teams to increase capabilities.
“I had the privilege to lead during a building/rebuilding period for Fleet Cyber Command,” said Tighe. “We were coming out of a fight on the network and reengineering the Navy’s network to be more resilient and better prepared for the threats that were heading our way and we were rebuilding and codifying our SIGINT capabilities, both with the National Security Agency and inside the Navy. We were building the cyber teams and getting the talent that we needed to be able to have both the protection teams and the cyber mission force teams to move forward with a full spectrum capability. We put the bones together of what our strategic plan would be in terms of defining what good looks like. All the leaders from throughout the fleet helped us work on that plan and articulated in a way that was understandable to the Sailors of the fleet and our partners within the DoD (Department of Defense).”
Command Master Chief, Dee Allen, the third and present fleet master chief of FCC/C10F, reflected on the ever-present challenges 10th Fleet faces.
“If I went out and talked to peers at my level outside of the community, I’d have thought they were still afraid of the word ‘cyber,’ so they didn’t really understand what we did,” said Allen. “I took it upon myself to campaign with Adm. Gilday, who was the commander at the time. We worked with a number of fleets and started an education campaign, explaining what Fleet Cyber did and the tools that we could provide to build the fleet and make things better.”
The current Chief of Naval Operations and fourth commander of FCC/C10F, Adm. Mike Gilday, sent a message to 10th Fleet.
“We’re not fighting an enemy that people can see, and we’re not fighting a war where international norms exist,” said Gilday. “But make no mistake, we are in conflict day in and day out in the cyber realm. You all are on the front lines of that fight. Keep doing what you’re doing, don’t rest on your laurels, but keep us safe and make us proud.”
Vice Adm. T.J. White, the fifth and present commander of FCC/C10F, attributes the success of the command to those who have come before him.
“It’s an extraordinary privilege and honor to be associated with this command. All of the previous commanders and each of the respective fleet master chiefs have set conditions for all subsequent commanders to be successful,” said White. “The things that we have been able to achieve inside the Navy’s information warfare community, moving from having no community to having an information warfare community has been a seminal change. It’s been a magnificent decade.”
Since its establishment, command has grown into an operational force composed of more than 14,000 active and reserve sailors and civilians organized into 28 active commands, 40 cyber mission force units, and 27 reserve commands around the globe. FCC reports directly to the chief of naval operations as an echelon II command and is responsible for planning, coordinating, integrating, synchronizing, directing, and conducting the full spectrum of cyberspace operational activities required to ensure freedom of action across all of the Navy's warfighting domains in, through, and from cyberspace, and to deny the same to the Navy's adversaries.
As such, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command serves as the Navy component command to U.S. Cyber Command, the Navy space component to U.S. Space Command, and the Navy's Service Cryptologic Component Commander under the National Security Agency/Central Security Service.
FCC is responsible for Navy information network operations, offensive and defensive cyberspace operations, space operations, and signals intelligence. Comprised of more than 14,000 Sailors, Reservists and civilians stationed across the world, 10th Fleet is the operational arm of FCC and executes its mission through a task force structure similar to other warfare commanders.
For more news
FCC/10th Fleet – http://www.fcc.navy.mil/, https://www.facebook.com/USFLTCYBERCOM/ and Twitter: @USFLEETCYBERCOM