Perdue’s provision

Cyber language in defense bill is crucial to success

When the U.S. Senate passed a defense budget last week, the headline-grabber was the $700 billion bottom line.

 

But nestled in the bill is a provision secured by U.S. Sen. David Perdue of Georgia that relates to Fort Gordon and its growing cybersecurity mission.

In 2013, the secretary of defense ordered the formation of the Cyber Mission Forces. Today it’s composed of 133 teams spread throughout all branches of the military. The secretary also asked the branches to create a “joint, federated cyber training program” that would build on each branch’s strengths while avoiding duplication and waste.

From his seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Perdue inserted language in the bill requiring that the training issue be resolved in the next budget planning cycle and requests an update for the committee.

All that might sound merely like so much bureaucratic housekeeping – not very glamorous. After all, it’s just common sense to expect seamless coordination among America’s armed forces.

But there’s another aspect to it. Updating the Armed Services Committee on cyber training is bound to showcase how advanced the Army is in integrating cyber into its branch.

And that means shining a deserved spotlight on Fort Gordon, home of the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence.

Perdue’s provision might be one of the most important aspects of this defense bill.

An agreement on the joint training program was due to the committee for fiscal year 2017, but all branches of the military haven’t yet arrived at that agreement.

That’s simply not acceptable. Cyber threats evolve every day. It’s a battlefield that’s changing constantly. And if our military is going to successfully wage war on that battlefield, our fighting men and women in the Cyber Mission Forces need a unified training program, and a curriculum to train them and keep them trained on the latest developments in cyberwarfare.

That needs to happen as soon as possible.

 

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