In a previous post, I posed the somewhat rhetorical question, Is Cryptology Dead? At the time,Â it appeared that cryptology and Signals Intelligence were not quite dead, but were certainly being under-valued. It appears that is all about to change.
A 23Jul09 Chief of Naval Operations memo titled Fleet Cyber Command/Commander Tenth Fleet Implementation PlanÂ (pdf) directs the formulation of a plan to stand up these two new commands. This new organization will â€śserve as the Naval Component Commander to [U.S. Cyber Command]” andÂ as the Navy Service Cryptologic Commander. As background, USCYBERCOM is also a new agency, its own formation directed only a month ago by SECDEF memoÂ (pdf).
FLTCYBERCOMÂ is interesting in many ways, but it cannot go unnoticed that this will be a kind of trip back to the future. The purpose and structure will not be unlike the former Naval Security Group Command, one of the organizations absorbed by NETWARCOMÂ just four years ago. Ironically, under the construct described inÂ the CNO memo, NETWARCOM will be subordinate to FLTCYBERCOM. ItÂ will also lose an echelon and a starâ€¦moving from echelon two to three and its command billet going fromÂ three stars to two.
The known plans for FLTCYBERCOM allow limited analysis and lots of conjecture (and I encourage both, especially from folks who really understand naval organization). The implementation plan will provide a lot more information if itâ€™s made public. Two important decisions are locationÂ and commander. Because ofÂ the relationship with USCYBERCOM (proposed location Ft. Meade) and the National Security Agency (Ft. Meade), FLTCYBERCOM shouldÂ reestablish the Navy flag officerÂ presence on the Fort. The future commander will likelyÂ be an intel officer…or will theÂ information warfare/cryptologic community get aÂ vice admiral?
The final analysis will not be possible until some time after the command reaches full operational capablility, but this is a step toward reinvigorating SIGINT andÂ achieving trueÂ excellence in the other functions FLTCYBERCOM will dominate. What is already clearÂ is the CNOâ€™s imperative forÂ change. The implementation plan is due by 31 August and the command will be operationalÂ on 1 October. Thatâ€™s light speed in any bureaucracy.
[For those who might remember, I wasnâ€™t happy about NETWARCOMâ€™s plan to rename to Cyber Command. Well, I still donâ€™t love the name, but you could call it Frank if you wanted, just as long as cryptology is no longer ignored.]