The Navy will create tactical cyber teams in early 2020 as part of an order from the service’s top officer.
In a new strategy document released Dec. 4, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said he wanted the service to develop a plan to field small tactical cyber teams by February 2020. He directed the Information Warfare Type Command and Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet to make it happen.
“I want to give tactical cyber teams, small tactical cyber teams to fleet commanders so that we can confuse the enemy and put ourselves in a position of advantage in a fight right off the bat,” Gilday said at the USNI Defense Forum Dec. 5.
Additional details regarding the makeup of these teams and what their focus will be were not immediately available.
U.S. Cyber Command orchestrates cyber operations within the Department of Defense. The services provide the 133 offensive and defensive cyber teams through the cyber mission force to Cyber Command. The individual services, such as the Navy, don’t own or conduct offensive cyber operations. Rather, those missions are led by Cyber Command.
But other services have already taken steps for comparable tactical teams.
In the realm of ground operations, the Army and Marine Corps have begun to create organic cyber forces outside of the cyber mission force. These forces conduct tactical offensive cyber operations — largely through the RF spectrum — as well as defensive cyber operations.
In addition, the Air Force is in the process of creating their own defensive teams called mission defense teams. These teams are specialized cyber teams across the service whose primary mission is to defend local installations and critical mission tasks from cyberattacks.
Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.