Air Force Cyber Command (AFCYBER)
Note: Not an active major command
Mission of the AFCYBER
The Air Force Cyber Command (AFCYBER) was conceived as a major command to coordinate and synchronize information networks that direct operations for the Department of Defense (DoD). Cyberspace operations are essential for protecting not only our own DoD networks from enemies, but also those of U.S. allies. The Air Force is responsible for protecting our skies and the space above, so it makes sense for cyberspace to be included in the realm of AF responsibilities.
History of the AFCYBER
Original proposals from the Secretary of the Air Force for the new command never came into existence, though the possibility of a separate armed services cyber operation has not been completely discounted by the USAF. In 2008, the Air Force decided the command would not become an active command and the missions that AFCYBER was responsible for would fall under the 24th Air Force (24 AF) and the Air Force Space Command (AFSC).
In 2009, the Air Force chose Lackland AFB, San Antonio as the new home for the 24th Air Force. Lackland beat out other bases, such as Langley AFB in Virginia and Peterson AFB in Colorado, for the right to call itself the home of the 24 AF. Lackland AFB may have been chosen because of its close proximity to other cyber-type commands, including the Cryptology Center and the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency (AF ISR).
Importance of a Cyber Command
Resilient networks that are resistant to tampering by our nation’s adversaries are key to maintaining the infrastructure utilized by the DoD in cyberspace, including those that guard our weapons systems. Pandemonium would surely ensue if the enemy gained access to the weapons systems that the 24th Air Force protects. Approximately 400 people on staff work in the top-secret computer room to ensure the safety of this valuable information.