US Marine Corps launches hacker support unit

Team will conduct OCO, CNE and ISR to stop SNAFUs on MCEN and ODIN

The United States Marine Corps has launched a hacking support unit.

The Marine Corps Cyberspace Warfare Group (MCCYWG) is already functioning with a small contingency of staff and will ramp up with full operational capacity expected next year.

It will support the US Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace (MARFORCYBER) established 2010 and follows the launch of other hacking units and cyber doctrine implemented last year.

Commanding Officer Colonel Ossen J. D’Haiti says the MCCYWG will staff, train, and equip Marine hacker teams for their offensive and defensive operations.

The Corps feels “... the ability to protect that (technology), the ability to control that and deny an adversary to interdict that, is crucial to command and control,” Colonel D’Haiti says.

“We’re still evolving, but I think five years from now, as the Marine Corps comes online and understands more and more what is happening in this space, the Cyberspace Warfare Group will look much different than it does today."

It is described as the "Marine Corps’ firewall" to prevent attacks.

Unit hacker Sargent Brian Mueller says it will help prevent attacks while hindering the "enemy".

“[Cyberspace operations] ensure that our systems are secure to stop hackers from getting into our systems where our personal identifiable information and everything else is stored,” Sargent Mueller says.

“While the offensive side is what can we do to hinder an enemy.”

A Marine projects tracking site describes what it says are the specific objectives of the unit, namely.

  • Conduct personnel management to organise and assign individuals to work roles and place them in work centers to ensure operational readiness of CMF Teams;
  • Ensure all personnel are trained in accordance with USCYBERCOM Joint Cyberspace Training and Certification Standards and equipped to perform all duties and tasks outlined in the MARFORCYBER Mission Essential Task List (METL);
  • Plan for and, when authorized, conduct Offensive Cyberspace Operations (OCO) including computer network exploitation (CNE), cyberspace intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and operational preparation of the environment (OPE);
  • Plan and conduct designated DCO in response to threats against the Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN), supported combatant command (COCOM) designated networks, and the Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN);
  • Advise COMMARFORCYBER on force employment considerations,
  • Provide subject matter expertise for operational planning requirements.

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