WASHINGTON — Air Force Space Command is being relieved of the responsibility of fighting hackers in cyberspace. The job now belongs to Air Combat Command.
This move will “drive faster decisions as we fight by realigning the cyber operations and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions under the same command,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in a statement on Thursday.
ACC is scheduled to assume cyber responsibilities this summer.
The realignment means Air Force Space Command will be able to focus entirely on “space superiority,” said the command’s leader Gen. Jay Raymond in a statement. “Integrating cyber operations and intelligence in cyber capabilities under one command is a significant step towards enhancing our warfighting capabilities to conduct multi-domain operations,” he said. “Air Force Space Command will stay focused completely on gaining and maintaining space superiority and outpacing our adversaries in the space domain.”
The National Defense Strategy “directs the U.S. military to invest in gaining and exploiting information and to deny adversaries the same ability,” Wilson said. “This initiative helps do both.”
ACC is responsible for organizing, training and equipping Air Force units.
The two commands have been in close coordination on the realignment for the past 21 months to “properly align roles, responsibilities and the presentation of ready forces,” the Air Force said in a news release.
Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein explained the change was necessary to prepare for a “future high-end fight.”
The units being realigned include the 24th Air Force and subordinate units, as well as the Cyber Support Squadron, Air Force Network Integration Center and Air Force Spectrum Management Office, which currently report directly to Air Force Space Command.
ACC Commander Gen. Mike Holmes said Air Force cyber capabilities are “intertwined with the intelligence, command and control, air superiority, personnel recovery and precision attack missions that we are responsible for.” The move “streamlines how the Air Force presents forces to joint commanders, and it improves our ability to integrate cyber and air operations.”