Marines further define new top cyber position

Details have emerged about a new top cyber position in the Marine Corps tasked with technology combat development.

The assistant deputy commandant for information warfare will look at how the Marines involve information operations and offensive weapons, said Marine Corps Chief Information Officer Brig. Gen. Dennis Crall during a Nov. 13 speech.

The commanding general of Marine Corps Cyber Command is currently holding the position, which pulls together that position and the director of intelligence, and Crall’s second position as director of command, control, communications, computers and intelligence.

“What we are looking to do in the near future is put more dedicated leadership to that given the requirements of the players [involved] to prosecute their own primary missions, but it’s a great start,” Crall said during an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association event in Vienna, Virginia.

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The position was created in August.

“Instead of three individual stovepipes kind of doing their own thing [this] pulls together everything from a capabilities development standpoint,” Deputy Commandant Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh said last month. “It all comes back to that combat development integration; a lot of people doing good things, but how do you integrate it together.”

Crall likened the new office to the Navy’s Cyber Awakening, which tried to improve the Navy’s cyber capabilities and defenses after a major Navy computer system was hacked.

The Marine Corps is putting a special emphasis on cyber, going as far as making reductions in capacity to better its cybersecurity and information warfare capabilities.

“An infantry battalion may look a little bit smaller in some ways, but you may add more cyber, information warfare capabilities, so that’s definitely an area that we are looking at,” Walsh said.

The Marines have expanded the way they are operating in their concept plan, Expeditionary 21, Walsh said. They are no longer just about small landing teams; now the Marines want to be a “middleweight” force that integrates seapower through communications between land and sea forces.

Doing that involves better cyber and command and control technologies that can be used in environments that could jam, interfere or scramble those signals.

“We have to be able to look at this future force. We know that in the information warfare area, cyber, leveraging space capabilities, ambiguous warfare, cy[ber] ops; that area there that you are seeing a lot of proliferation in, we know we’ve got to invest in that area,” Walsh said.

Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation Dakota Wood told Federal News Radio that the Marines were forced to cut capacity to make room for cyber.

Wood said the Marine Corps has already spent a lot of money on modernization programs. Since cyber is a necessity and cannot wait to be builtout and budgets are not growing, the only option is to sacrifice capacity.

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