Air Force Official Wants 'Virtual' Cyber Command

March 7th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Air Force Official Wants 'Virtual' Cyber Command

Omaha World-Herald
March 6, 2008
Pg. 1
He downplays the role of the facility, which Nebraskans want at Offutt.
By Joseph Morton, World-Herald Bureau
WASHINGTON -- Even as cities across the country try to land the permanent home of a new Cyber Command, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne on Wednesday downplayed the role of such a central base of operations.
Wynne told the Senate Armed Services Committee he has asked that the Cyber Command "become virtual" and is encouraging its commander to look at business models in the private sector.
"We've said we don't want you to be the standard, pro-forma command that you might see from the Napoleonic era," Wynne said.
"We think we should go into the information age, so we asked them to look at Accenture and Amazon and companies like that to see how they operate and minimize the headquarters."
Bellevue has lobbied for locating the new command at Offutt Air Force Base. Offutt already is the headquarters for U.S. Strategic Command, the militarywide command in charge of cyberspace operations.
The Air Force is making it clear that the new command will include cyberspecialists spread around the country.
The idea of a dispersed network of cybergeeks staying in touch electronically is logical to a certain extent, Sen. Ben Nelson,
a member of the committee, said in an interview.
But the Nebraska Democrat also said it's important to have a brick-and-mortar facility for upper-level commanders.
"Having the basic command with the senior people in it in one location does have some merit," Nelson said. "You walk next door and talk to each other and don't have to do it through e-mail."
Wynne updated the senators on his timetable for selecting a location.
Officials will evaluate the locations seeking the headquarters from July until November, when they will select four finalists. They aim to make their final choice the following month, he said.
Communities are anxious to host the headquarters because it would bring hundreds of jobs and help attract high-tech, private defense companies. Wynne said the Air Force has been contacted by 16 states interested in hosting the new command.
For now, the Cyber Command is getting organized at a provisional location at Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, La. Barksdale is one of the locations vying for the permanent headquarters.
Nelson and others on the Armed Service Committee also questioned why Air Force commanders suggest that they need $20 billion a year more than proposed in President Bush's budget to replace aging fighters, bombers and cargo aircraft.
Nelson said it's a flawed process when the White House requests inadequate funding and leaves it up to Congress to make up the difference.
But he said lawmakers will probably provide the Air Force with more money than proposed by Bush. Nelson said he agrees with Air Force commanders that the growth of the other military services puts a strain on the Air Force, which provides transportation and support in the field.
"It may not be as much as they're asking for per year," Nelson said, "but clearly additional planes are going to be necessary."

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