FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Maryland - A new chapter was started for the Army presence in cyberspace when the 780th Military Intelligence (MI) Brigade officially organized a Cyber Solutions Development (CSD) detachment under the 781st MI Battalion at Club Meade on July 25.
In a ceremony steeped in military tradition, the detachment’s guidon was uncased for the first time and Maj. Todd Arnold, the Army officer who led the effort to make this vision a reality, passed the guidon to the incoming officer in charge, Maj. W. Michael Petullo.
According to Arnold the CSD detachment was formed to consolidate previously-dispersed cyberspace tool developers, and focus efforts to build solutions for both the DoD’s Cyber Mission Force (CMF), and Army-specific cyberspace needs.
“The Army has requirements — beyond just the Cyber Mission Forces — to create capabilities. Before the CSD, there was no specific unit for that. The CSD is now filling that gap," said Arnold.
Before the CSD, a new capability request from a CMF team was often limited in responsibility to developers assigned to that single team. The launch of the CSD brings together a dedicated group of experts who can share knowledge, collaborate on solutions, and more rapidly deliver advanced cyberspace tools to the Army and multiple CMF teams. The CSD will draw upon more of the dynamic, rapidly-evolving cyberspace environment than any one team could, and better deliver capabilities for Army forces to counter adversary actions in cyberspace.
“There was a realization that it is important to have a cadre of technical engineers, software development folks, in uniform, to produce solutions that will be applied in cyberspace, whether they be the equivalent to a weapon system or studying the defensive side of our posture,” said Petullo. “We are the Army’s organization that produces technical advancements to strengthen our force in cyberspace or use them in defense against adversaries.”
Though the ceremony marked the official establishment of the CSD detachment, the unit is already having a positive impact on Army and Joint forces including support to contingency operations, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities Support to Corps and Below, and in support of Army efforts to secure weapons and vehicle platforms against cyber vulnerabilities.
The CSD detachment will also support one of the three fundamental priorities for U.S. Army Cyber Command: to “design, build, and deliver integrated capabilities for the future fight.”
“Today was an important day for the Army, and the CSD is something that we’ve thought about for a long time,” said Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, the commanding general of U.S. Army Cyber Command. “We are co-locating our cyberspace developers in one dedicated group to maximize their effectiveness. These Soldiers and civilians represent the new kind of innovators we need for the Army’s cyber force. They are the ones building the unique and cutting-edge capabilities the Army and the Joint Force will use to be successful both in the near term and in the future fight.”
In 2011, the 780th MI Brigade was established as the first cyber brigade in the Army. The brigade conducts signals intelligence and cyberspace operations to create operational effects in and through the cyberspace domain to gain and maintain freedom of action required to support the Army and Joint requirements while denying the same to our adversaries.
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