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From the desk of the Good Idea Fairy

I just cannot imagine having a dedicated Cyber Command separate from the other services. What do you think, readers?

http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2014-01/time-us-cyber-force

To me, the authors’ arguement comparing aviation in WWI and cybermission in 2014 is faulty. They really are very different scenarios. The idea of having the Army Air Corps and the aviation bundled together with the US Army Signal Corps was not exactly a political masterminded sort of maneuver, either.  It came at a time when (1) the Signal Corps was sort of a miscellaneous catch-all for technical programs* and (2) the leaders of the Signal Corps were some pretty brilliant dudes. Adolphus Greely and George Owen Squier led the way for aviation in the Army because they happened to be in the Army. If either, or both, of those men were in the Navy, I have no doubt that the Navy would have been in charge of military aviation during WWI. Heck, Squier was simultaneously the Chief Signal Officer and the Chief Aviation Officer. He was an officer as well as a doctor of engineering from Johns Hopkins. In the later years, maybe there was politics and empire building, but at the beginning it unfolded as it did because it wasn’t happening anywhere else. As it was, the US was already a few years behind Europe in developing aircraft for military use.

It also is sort of weird to think of the development of cybersecurity as being analagous to the creation of military aircraft, possibly because we don’t think of writing computer code the same way we think about flying a plane. At the same time, there’s not just one quartermaster department that services the entire military or one infantry or one special operations group. Had the authors pitched the idea of a Joint Cybercommand, made up of individuals from all the services, I think I would have supported that concept as more realistic than a breakaway group that services the entire military. Because if they are servicing the military, why couldn’t they also service the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State, all of whom have their own cybersecurity needs? If you’re already creating a “new” standalone service, why not really go for it and provide that service for the entire federal government.

* Think radar, the weather service, still photography, motion picture photography, lab-created crystals, FM radio, etc.

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