This blog was written by Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, head of the Navy’s U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and TENTH fleet.
First and foremost, the men and women assigned to U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S. TENTH Fleet (FCC/C10F) are warriors. I am proud of the work they do to defend the nation every day and the skills they bring to the fight.
While many Americans understand the importance of the network that connects them with the rest of the world, they may not be as familiar with our Navy cyber warfighters and what they do on a daily basis to maintain mission critical connectivity between our naval forces. Because the Navy’s combat power is drawn from a highly networked and electromagnetic spectrum dependent force, the Navy must continuously fight within cyberspace to preserve these networks to maintain our maritime superiority.
Think of it this way; cyberspace is the fifth warfighting domain that intersects the other four which are sea, land, air, and space. Commanding this domain is critical to the Navy’s core capabilities of forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security and humanitarian assistance/disaster response. The U.S. Department of Defense defines cyberspace as “a global domain within the information environment consisting of the interdependent network of information technology infrastructures, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers.” Controlling and defending this information flow is a warfighting imperative.
Just as the U.S. Navy dominates the sea domain, the FCC/C10F team of officers, enlisted, and civilian members fight each day to maintain our edge in cyberspace in defense and support of the Navy and Joint forces.
FCC/C10F warfighters contribute to the Navy’s overall mission by directing cyberspace operations to deter and defeat aggression while ensuring freedom of action in cyberspace. This means serving as the central operational authority for networks, cryptologic/signals intelligence, cyber, information operations, electronic warfare, and space capabilities for the Navy. We network widely dispersed forces to gain battle space awareness that extends our Navy’s operational reach to deliver massed and precision firepower at critical points – in other words, we fight the bad guys and empower our Navy and Joint partners in cyberspace by operating and protecting the networks that support the defense of our nation. To do this, we are continually striving to leverage technology and optimize our workforce through training and innovation to maintain our strategic, operational and tactical advantage in cyberspace.
We execute our mission set using the same traditional maritime warfighting organizations and mechanisms that the Navy uses in every other warfighting domain: a three-star numbered fleet that provides operational oversight and uses its Maritime Operations Center to execute command and control over its assigned forces, subordinate task forces that are organized to actually execute the actions necessary to achieving the mission within their assigned mission sets, and a highly motivated work force of uniformed and civilian teammates who are the cornerstone of our efforts in the cyber domain.
While networking our forces and cyber security is our focus every day, every military member and American citizen should understand the vulnerabilities in cyberspace and institute practical safeguards to protect their systems and information (from protecting your private information on social media sites to using unique and difficult-to-guess passwords). For that reason, October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and we invite you to learn more by visiting www.fcc.navy.mil.
As the FCC/C10F nears completion of its third year since standing up in January 2010, it is fitting to take a moment to reflect on the contributions our Navy cyber warfighters have made, because they have been the strength of our efforts over these years and they will continue to be the source of that strength. Well done and thank you for the hard work, FCC/C10F team.
Continued success in cyberspace requires a team effort across the entire Navy. Every Sailor, civilian and contractor must understand the vital role they play in safeguarding our networks and information. Cyber readiness and security is everyone’s responsibility and FCC/C10F looks forward to teaming with each of you.