Senior leaders from around the U.S. Cyber Command enterprise attended a summit on April 19 at the command’s headquarters to discuss the future of cyber operations, evolving capabilities, and deeper integration.
The gathering was conducted both in-person and virtually, bringing together Reserve Component leadership and Service Cyber Component commanders to highlight current contributions, challenges, and strategies within the cyber environment, while focusing on increased integration and collaboration.
During the event, leaders engaged in a roundtable discussion covering three topics: increasing Reserve Component cyber capacity/capabilities, operations in the information environment, and intelligence operations relating to cyber.
Gen. Paul Nakasone, CYBERCOM commander and National Security Agency/Central Security Service director, discussed the value of the Total Force during his opening remarks at the event. He said that protecting the nation against malicious cyber activity is a whole-of-nation effort involving partners from industry, academia, interagency, and the Guard and Reserve.
While each component brings a unique aspect to the cyber fight, it is the partnerships of the Total Force that gives America’s cyber warriors an advantage.
The benefit of Guard and Reserve teammates is they often bring skillsets from their civilian careers, which can boost innovation. This expertise, coupled with their ability to easily support their home states and work within existing partnership programs, brings a valuable dynamic to the cyber defense of the nation.
“Cyber warfare is not just our future—it is our contemporary reality,” said Gen. Hokanson, Chief, National Guard Bureau. “The National Guard is positioned to be leaders in the digital domain, and continues to enhance our nation’s cyber capabilities in combat and in the homeland.
“With 4,000 National Guard cyber operators across 40 states, many working for leading tech companies, the National Guard has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to play a critical role in the DoD’s cyber enterprise,” he added.
This joint partnership between CYBERCOM components has already proved successful. In the 2020 Elections, the Total Force paired with NSA in more than two dozen operations to secure the critical infrastructure against foreign cyber influence. Continuing this success, the forum is designed to allow for future missions and strategies to be discussed with all partners at the same table—bolstering cyber resiliency.
“It was great to see all of our components come together to jointly tackle the challenges we are facing,” said Air Force Col. William Monahan, Reserve Advisor to CYBERCOM and event organizer. “This is a prime example of cyber being a team sport. We are all in this together, synchronized and driving toward the best military cyber enterprise in the world.”