The Pentagon’s newest cyber organization, Joint Force Headquarters-DoD Information Networks (JFHQ-DoDIN) is poised to take a key step in its maturation over the next several weeks as it branches out from Fort Meade and into three new branch offices designed to help defend DoD systems in various geographic areas.
The first three “provisional” commands will be located in Europe, in the Pacific and in U.S. Central Command, and will be assigned to help combatant commanders in each of those areas secure their areas of cyberspace, said Brig. Gen. Robert Skinner, the deputy commander of JFHQ-DoDIN.
“Basically they will be the forward element of the Joint Force Headquarters and supporting that commander’s in-theater requirements,” he told AFCEA’s recent cyber defensive operations symposium in Baltimore, Md. “They’ll still have a key relationship and linkage between the JFHQ proper, but they will in the combatant command’s battle rhythm, will understand the key cyber terrain, be able to provide situational awareness and be able to provide some operational planning support and capabilities for that combatant command. We’ll sit down with each command and walk through their requirements and figure out how we can synergistically work together to provide what they need to perform the missions they’ve been assigned in the Unified Command Plan.”
If Congress has any allies in its persistent opposition to another round of base closures, you might think they would be the state and local officials who represent military bases.
If so, you would be wrong. The Association of Defense Communities recently surveyed its membership, asking whether they’d prefer another BRAC round to the current hand-wringing about when or if the military will realign its stateside infrastructure. 91 percent said they’d prefer another BRAC, while 8.6 percent prefer the status quo.
The overwhelming lopsidedness of that poll is likely one factor behind an op-ed ADC president Tim Ford penned last week, noting that while BRAC can be a painful process, the alternative in the face of decline defense budgets is “death by a thousand cuts” and the “hollowing out of bases and economic ruin for our communities.”
By all accounts, the law enforcement response to what turned out to have been a false alarm at the Washington Navy Yard last week was quite different than the actual active shooter situation in 2003: Law enforcement agencies were able to readily communicate with one another, a unified command was set up right away, and first responders had no trouble entering the base’s gates.
But when it comes to another key lesson from the 2003 tragedy – the need to improve the security clearance process – the government still has a long road ahead.
A new report from the Office of Management and Budget makes clear that agencies won’t transition to a system of continuous evaluation (CE) for clearance holders for several more years, and important deadlines for the accelerated implementation have already been missed.
If Eric Fanning somehow finds himself with nothing to do in the next few years, he might be a good candidate for the director of Washington Headquarters Service, the outfit that runs the physical Pentagon.
After all, he now knows every corner of the building, having served as a deputy undersecretary of the Navy, the acting secretary of the Air Force, the chief of staff to the Defense secretary and now, the undersecretary of the Army.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced Thursday that he’s appointed Fanning to be the Army’s number-two civilian, at least in an acting capacity. He’s likely to play a key role in the Army during the next few months. Secretary John McHugh, who has served since the beginning of the Obama administration, announced a month ago that he would be stepping down, but would wait until November to allow for an orderly transition.