In a later version of Sun Tzu’s famous book on warfare, “The Art of War,” an unnamed scholar describes the front lines as something that could be defined and visualized, but in today’s battle space, the ease of defining front lines is no more.
Today, it is the virtual front lines we have to defend, and the Army is one step closer to doing just that. With the symbolic cut of the scissors, the Continental United States (CONUS) Theater Network Operations and Security Center, or CTNOSC, and the CONUS and South Regional Computer Emergency Response Teams, or (SR) RCERT, were officially merged Tuesday to become the 7th Signal Command (Theater), 2d Regional Cyber Center, a single unit tasked with the authority to operate, maintain and defend the Army’s cyber realm within the Western Hemisphere.
“The intent of forming the Regional Cyber Center is two-fold,” said Lt. Col. Gregory Griffin, 2d Regional Cyber Center director. “First, it fuses the operation-and-maintain mission to the defend mission, giving the responsibility for both missions to one unit and reporting to one theater command. Second, it integrates an organic intelligence function into the organization to improve our ability to defend the LandWarNet against a pervasive, adaptive and ever-changing enemy.”
Regional cyber centers are organizations that provide LandWarNet service to their theaters while simultaneously defending the information network from cyber threats. They operate around the clock, said Griffin. “Regional cyber centers are the focal point of cyber resources in the theater to bring capabilities to the Army and link jointly across services.”
The 2nd Regional Cyber Center will be located in the Network Operations Facility in Greely Hall on Fort Huachuca. The Network Operations Facility, which opened in 2009, is an $18 million, two-story, 53,250 square-foot facility. The facility is a ‘purpose built,’ world-class network operations center with the physical and network capacity to service all of the Regional Cyber Center’s needs, both now and in the future, said Griffin.
“Our Army always has to adapt to the technology, to the national strategy, the economic and the demographics, and today we are adapting to meet the opportunities and challenges of cyberspace,” said Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, the Army Cyber Command commanding general. “This new cyber center is the embodiment of that effort to adapt, for what you do is critical for both our Army and our nation because you are here every day protecting the nation against increasingly sophisticated, ever-growing and ever-evolving cyber threats.”
The combination of the RCERT and the CTNOSC will bring efficiency in a different way, because as the threats grow, the Army has to adapt its organization in such a way as to increase the width and depth of the security it can provide, said Cardon.
“This center will improve our ability to defend the nation’s network against the most serious threat to our economy and national security,” the general said.
The structure of the Regional Cyber Command will be made up of approximately 30 Soldiers, 30 government civilians and roughly 350 contract personnel, said Griffin. Their responsibilities will include the full range of operations, maintenance and defensive functions of the LandWarNet.
The initial transition to a Regional Cyber Center involves bringing the existing organizations together and enhancing some existing processes and relationships, said Griffin. “The growing and manning of the in-house intelligence capability and the establishing of habitual relationships with external organizations to support other new capabilities will take 6-12 months.
“The idea of a regional cyber center has been in development for over a decade,” said Griffin. “This last push to make this happen came from both the 7th Signal Command (Theater) and Army Cyber Command leadership. As early as this past April, the TNOSC and RCERT leadership teams in CONUS have collaborated on the mission, capabilities, structure and manning of the Regional Cyber Center, which culminated in contributing to the recently published order directing the formation of the cyber center.”
Although no costs were involved in the merger of the two entities, as the Army moves forward in developing new capabilities, there will be some additional personnel with specific skill sets and some facilities modifications required to complete the transformation to a fully operational Regional Cyber Center, said Griffin.