ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army will establish an office dedicated to offensive cyber and space capabilities next year amid rapidly shifting priorities, officials said.

The office, dubbed Program Manager Cyber and Space, will fall under the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, which tests and fields equipment such as aerial jamming pods, biometric information systems and battlefield navigation tools.

Its creation will shift offensive cyber responsibilities away from an existing PEO IEW&S enclave tasked with electronic warfare and cyber.

“That’s one of the things we’re driving toward,” Brig. Gen. Ed Barker, the deputy at PEO IEW&S, said Aug. 30 during a roundtable with reporters at the Open Innovation Lab. “So we’re definitely trying to realign to some of those emerging priorities and areas.”

The offensive cyber portfolio includes the Joint Common Access Platform, a program initiated by the Army a few years ago, according to Mark Kitz, the leader of PEO IEW&S. ManTech, a defense technology firm, in 2020 won a $265 million contract to support the platform for nearly four years.

Offensive cyber is defined as “cyberspace operations intended to project power by the application of force in or through cyberspace,” according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

JCAP provides underlying infrastructure for Department of Defense cyber missions and target acquisition, C4ISRNET previously reported. It’s part of the Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture, an overarching vision for U.S. Cyber Command.

PM Cyber and Space, reporters were told, will be led by a colonel, or O-6.

The breakout is necessary, in part, because of increased workloads and demands spanning the military services.

“Because we’ve seen mission growth in that area,” Kitz said, “we’re going to spin off.”

Colin Demarest was a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covered military networks, cyber and IT. Colin had previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

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