General says ARCYBER progresses, prepares for cyberspace future

By William Garbe, ARNEWSJuly 27, 2012

Army Cyber Command
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Army News Service, July 26, 2012) -- The Army's top cyberspace warrior told Congress that the work of the Army Cyber Command adds to national security.

Lt. Gen. Rhett Hernandez, commanding general of U.S. Army Cyber Command, 2nd Army, testified before the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, July 25.

Hernandez recalled for lawmakers the accomplishments of Army Cyber Command, noting that since ARCYBER stood up in October 2010, the command "has blocked more than 400,000 attempts by individual internet protocol addresses to gain unauthorized access to Army networks."

The general also said that on average the command blocks 64 million internet protocol addresses daily.

"Army Cyber Command has made great progress and will continue to remain trained and ready to ensure our forces maintain our freedom to operate," Hernandez said. "We're focused on providing a professional team of elite, trusted, precise, disciplined cyber warriors who defend our networks, provide dominant effects in and through cyberspace, enable mission command, and ensure a decisive global advantage."

The general told the subcommittee that the cyber threats to the Army are "real, growing, sophisticated, and evolving," with threats varying from individuals and hacker groups to violent extremist organizations and nation-states.

"All pose a danger of increasing their ability to disrupt the networks or (the) critical infrastructure we count on to operate and conduct missions, and advancing their techniques to exploit our people and information," Hernandez said. "Collectively, these threats create a dynamic and dangerous cyberspace environment."

Hernandez said end users are the most vulnerable link, and called for an increase in basic cyber awareness.

"Every time Army Soldiers and civilians enter the network, regardless of where they are, they must recognize they're in a contested environment," Hernandez wrote in his submitted testimony. "Everyone must be aware of the cyberspace threats and remain vigilant against them."

The general recognized another milestone for ARCYBER: the activation of a dedicated cyber brigade. The 780th Military Intelligence Brigade stood up on December 1, 2011, at Fort Meade, Md., and supports the U.S. Cyber Command and combatant command cyber operations.

Looking to the future, Hernandez said ARCYBER "will integrate cyberspace operations into 13 joint and Army exercises" this fiscal year, with plans to double the number in the next year.

He also said ARCYBER is working to achieve a Joint Information Environment, a cloud-like computing platform.

ARCYBER is also utilizing the resources of the Reserve and Guard components, and Hernandez said ARCYBER works closely with Army National Guard director Lt. Gen. William Ingram and Army Reserve commander Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley.

"All those units that have cyber capability under the operational control of Army Cyber Command today, we leverage them routinely," Hernandez said. "They bring unbelievable skills to all the mission sets."

With regard to personnel readiness, Hernandez said the Army must recruit, develop and retain active duty and Reserve Soldiers, civilians and contractors in order to meet threats.

"We must continue to recruit, develop and retain a skilled professional workforce," Hernandez said. "While there's still plenty to do in this new domain, Army Cyber Command has made great progress and it remains focused on providing trained and ready forces able to conduct cyberspace operations."

Hernandez told the subcommittee Army Cyber Command Soldiers appreciate being cyber warriors.

"They're excited about the opportunity," Hernandez said. "They're excited about what they're a part of and our charge is to continue to develop them and continue to keep that excitement because we can't do it without them."

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