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New USAF Cyber-war formation downgraded

Cyber Command becomes Space Command Cyber Force

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The US Air Force will proceed with plans to create a large, dedicated cyber warfare force, it was confirmed yesterday. However, rather than being an independent "Command" in its own right, the net battle formation has been downgraded in status and will now be subordinate to USAF Space Command.

The original plans to form a full-blown Cyber Command were put on hold in August, following the sacking of the uniformed and civilian heads of the air force. General Buzz Moseley and Secretary Michael Wynne were asked to resign following extreme difficulties in ramping up unmanned robot aircraft operations, along with several embarrassing mishaps involving nuclear weaponry.

Apart from the nuke and drone bungles, Moseley and Wynne's Cyber Command plans had also come under fire from the other US armed services, who viewed the scheme as an attempt by the air force to take over all network combat operations for itself. The new plan to make the USAF cyber force merely a part of space command should lessen such criticism, allowing the other services to have netwar branches of their own.

“The conduct of cyberoperations is a complex issue... other interagency partners have substantial equity in the cyberarena,” the new air force secretary Michael Donley told the Air Force Times. The USAF leadership reportedly consider that space and cyber warfare go together naturally.

Space Command will gain the new cyber force, but will lose control of America's landbased intercontinental missiles; these will now be reassigned to a new, unified nuclear-weapons command. The setting up of the nuke command is intended to improve the ethos and efficiency of USAF atomic-weapons management, avoiding humiliating blunders like those of recent times.

Further details on the Space Command cyber force will emerge in coming months. However it has been reported that it will be numbered the 24th Air Force. ®

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