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AF Nukes, Cyber Commands Shift

The Air Force leadership, eager to restore balance and accountability, decided to move cyber command to Space Command and will create a major command (MACOM) focused on "nuclear and deterrence missions."

"Our goal is a more stable Air Force, focused on our core missions, as a key member of the joint team," Gen. Norton Schwartz said about the service's annual Corona meeting this week. It was held Oct. 1-3 at the Air Force Academy.

Nukes dominated the discussions but joint issues were a near second. For example, the service decided to assign senior Air Force officers to joint forces commands to direct air support. On top of that, the Air Force will train more airmen to support tactical air control systems. And they agreed to integrate Marines, Navy and Army personnel into Air Force command and control units.

Cyber command will become a numbered air force within Air Force Space Command, not a separate command as had been the plan under the previous Air Force leadership. It looks from this as if the Air Force is finally agreeing it will not try to become the lead DoD service for cyber operations. "The conduct of cyber operations is a complex issue, as DoD and other interagency partners have substantial equity in the cyber arena," Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said, stressing the service's cooperation rather than its dominance. "We will continue to do our part to increase Air Force cyber capabilities and institutionalize our cyber mission."

The Air Force leadership did not grasp the political nettle of where to locate the cyber and nuclear commands, saying it required more deliberation.

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