15. August 2008 · Comments Off on AF Cyber Command “Delayed” · Categories: Air Force, Stupidity, Technology

According to the front page of the Air Force Cyber Command’s Website:

8/14/2008 - Barksdale AFB, La.  – The Air Force remains committed to providing full-spectrum cyber capabilities to include global command and control, electronic warfare and network defense. The Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force have considered delaying currently planned actions on Air Force Cyber Command to allow ample time for a comprehensive assessment of all AFCYBER requirements and to synchronize the AFCYBER mission with other key Air Force initiatives. The new Air Force leaders continue to make a fresh assessment of all our efforts to provide our Nation and the joint force the full spectrum of air, space, and cyberspace capabilities.

Which makes sooooo much sense considering that the military doesn’t have a cohesive all-around cyber defense policy.  Seriously, cyber security measures can change literally from base to base.  What drives those measures?  You would think it would be a standard set of security practices applied to all and you’d be somewhat correct.  However, what you also have to take into account is that almost every base has a different contract company taking care of their network  security measures.  Those measures may be based on what the contractor is willing and able to do for the price that the military is willing to pay.  On some bases, you may have three to five different companies taking care of the various networks depending on the security level of the network.  Not only is the security level dependent on the classification of the material on the network, but it’s also dependent, again, on the capability of the contractors.

I remember getting a call when I was in NORAD/USSPACE from a flag officer and he needed me to come over and help him with one of his computers.  Since that part of the network wasn’t “owned” by NORAD/USSPACE, I literally was not allowed to help him.  I simply didn’t have permissions for that side of the network.  I  had to file a help desk ticket for him which, according to contract, allowed up to 3 business days before it was addressed.  Since he WAS a flag officer, the contractor did put a rush on it, but still.

I’ve been against the privatizing of the military’s networks since they started.  Okay, so you don’t have to pay contractors retirement benefits and all the other baggage that comes along with a military person’s life, but if you don’t write the contracts correctly, the military can wind up needing a task completed by the contractor that’s not in the contract and you can’t force them to complete that task without amending the contract which would also mean, MORE money.  That’s right, when a new task is added for any reason to a contract network admin or techie’s tasks, they may not HAVE to do it until the contract is reviewed to see if it falls under the contractor’s “scope of support.”  And because only contractors can touch the network on some bases, folks in uniform can’t complete the task either.  And since we’ve slashed the living shit out of the military’s network specialists in favor of contractors, we don’t have them to utilize anyway.

Which, if I’m being cynical, leads me to believe that someone has finally realized that having a cohesive policy across all the networks that the Air Force “controls” means that every single one of those contracts is going to have to be rewritten and I’m betting that some Senior NCO and their team has done the legwork and given General Lord and his bosses the cost analysis for those new contracts and someone with power of the purse-strings has crapped their drawers when the reality of what a workable, cohesive, policy is going to cost.

That’s if I was being cynical.  It could just mean that what we’ve got is working just fine and there’s no need for a cyber command in the first place…and I swear to you I typed that with a straight face…after three tries.

Thanks to He Who Needs No Linkage for the tip.

You want to know the funniesnt thing for me about all this?  I’ve got interviews with two contractors in the next week for jobs supporting the military’s network.  I hope the question, “What’s your opinion about privatization?” doesn’t come up and I hope to hell I’ve got the good sense to lie about it if it does.  I need a job.

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