By Maj. Gilberto Reyes, 6th Regional Cyber Center-Korea, and Capt. Kurt Van Slooten, 1st Signal BrigadeMarch 31, 2014
DAEGU, South Korea (March 31, 2014) --The Korea Theater Network Operations Security Center and the Regional Computer Emergency Response Teams-Korea officially merged late last year to become the 6th Regional Cyber Center-Korea.
"The merger enables the 6th RCC-K (6th Regional Cyber Center-Korea) to secure and defend the U.S. Army network against cyber attacks, while providing network availability and quality of service to our customers across the Korean peninsula," said Lt. Col. Roberto R. Castillo, director, 6th RCC-K, 1st Signal Brigade.
In 1999, U.S. Army forces in Korea established a Theater Network Security Operations Center, said James Malenky, deputy director, 6th RCC-K. The TNSOC's mission was focused on supporting theater signal network operations for the warfighter. The TNSOC had an inherent responsibility for securing the systems that they maintained and operated. However, they didn't have the in-depth technical expertise and the know-how for analyzing security incidents. The Army eventually decided to stand-up the Army Computer Emergency Response Team that was complemented by regional level teams known as Land Information Warfare Activities, later renamed to RCERTs. What the RCERTs brought to the table, continued Malenky, was the expertise on cyber incident handling, and threat activity analysis.
"In 2001, the RCERT was stood up in Korea to perform Computer Network Defense in support of U.S. Forces Korea and Eighth Army in coordination with the [Theater Network Operations and Security Center] mission," said Jack Miller, deputy director, Defensive Cyber Operations.
"The TNSOC was re-designated as the Theater Network Operations and Security Center, in 2001, and started providing Information Technology Services," said Malenky. The Theater Network Operations and Security Center, or TNOSC, and RCERT synergized operations in support of securing and defending the network, despite being separate organizations. In 2006, he explained the TNOSC was re-designated as the 6th Signal Center, and re-architected to provide Enterprise-level IT services, network security, and true NetOps.
Miller said that when U.S. Army Cyber Command stood-up, there was a decision made to merge network operations and cyber operations contributing to a conceptualized Cyber Warfighting Domain. Lt. Gen. Rhett Hernandez directed the creation of the Regional Cyber Centers, which evolved through the integration of the TNOSCs and RCERTs.
"The merger offers a realignment of processes, procedures, synchronization, and efficiencies of both organizations while we cross coordinate with our sister services in an effort to create a NetOps Common Operational Picture," said Miller.
When directed, RCC-K executes computer network operations in support of USFK and the Department of Defense Information Network, also known as DODIN, Castillo said. Furthermore, he said, the merger allows the RCC-K to more effectively enable U.S. and Allied forces freedom of action in cyberspace while denying the same to their adversaries.
"Our primary scope is very Cyber Centric," said Castillo. "We also provide and enable theater enterprise transport and service delivery to all users on the peninsula. The 1st Signal Brigade and RCC-K have made great strides to enhance the cyber security posture."
Capt. Jeffrey Jao, officer-in-charge, Defensive Cyber Operations, said some of the measures taken include fine tuning of internal processes, improving reporting procedures, adding more layers of security to the network and launching an aggressive cyber awareness campaign that fostered user responsibility and accountability. He said we have significantly decreased the number of cyber incidents, network violations and vulnerabilities across the theater down from several hundred to a few users in a short period of time.
Castillo also credited senior leader engagement and support for this success.
"We are continuously shaping the environment to encourage the operational community to embrace their roles and responsibilities as owners of the network and security of their systems," said Castillo.
The 1st Signal Brigade enables joint and combined command, control, communications, computers, and information management operations throughout Korea to support United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, United States Forces Korea, and Eighth Army's ability to lead, direct and maneuver available forces during armistice, crisis, or war.