The importance of cyber operations : U.S. Air Force General

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The Commander of 24th Air Force and Air Force's Cyber Air Component to USCYBERCOM Network Operations, Maj. Gen. Suzanne Vautrinot, spoke Monday at the 4th Annual Cyber 1.2 event at the 28th Annual National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo.

General Vautrinot, who is responsible for the Air Force's component force that provides combatant commanders with trained and ready cyber forces, discussed the importance of the 24th Air Force mission.

"When we talk about cyber, we are talking about mission, a mission focus and a mission accomplishment. My mission focus, just like in any other domain-whether it is ground, sea, air or space-the same is true for cyber: we are responding to orders and guidance that support this nation in its responsibilities and national security efforts around the globe," the general said.

She described how the 24th Air Force is the operational warfighting organization that establishes, operates, maintains and defends Air Force networks and conducts full-spectrum operations in cyberspace.

The general explained that full-spectrum is offense, defense and exploitation and they merge together at Cyber Command and are provided to the combatant commands so they can execute their missions.

She also said that it is important to defend Air Force networks to ensure warfighters can maintain the information advantage as we prosecute military operations.

"The defense can make a huge difference," the general said, "and it makes the difference by understanding what is happening on the field of play and getting in front of it before a play can form, that is the beginning of forensics."

When looking at forensics from a defensive stand point, it is like reviewing the game tapes before a football game. You're able to "stop the play" before adversaries get any ground, General Vautrinot explained.

When you watch them over and over again, the "signature" advises the defense. And more importantly you can get to the next step of heuristics and know what any play may look like and let the system automatically adjust...in cyber-time.

"It is about proactive defense in depth" she said.

She said cyber defense is all about being able to apply your knowledge across all possibilities of how someone can take advantage of your architectures and your ability to use cyber to your own advantage and to their disadvantage.

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