PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - The North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command Joint Cyber Center officially went to work after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta formally approved the formation of JCCs today among the geographic combatant commands.
The JCC is a new division under the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Operations Division (J3), and includes members from the intelligence, operations, and command and control systems divisions as well as working closely with action officers from the plans, training and resources divisions. It is also to be joined by a four to 12-person Cyber Support Element from U.S. Cyber Command.
The JCC will have three main missions: To better integrate cyber into the headquarters missions by improving situational awareness in the cyber domain, improving the defense of the commands’ networks and providing cyber consequence response and recovery support to civil authorities upon request.
Air Force Col. Bob Wright, NORAD and USNORTHCOM JCC Chief, said the JCC will accomplish these missions by working with the commands’ civil and military partners, including U.S. Cyber Command, U.S. Strategic Command, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies.
“Once established, we’ll identify possible threats in the cyber domain and address each of these threats in close collaboration with our mission partners,” Wright said.
The commands have been working to ensure the JCC was ready to go once Panetta signed the official order, said Wright.
“We developed a Memorandum of Understanding among the divisions to get the process started in order to meet the timeframe,” he said. As a result of that preparation, the NORAD and USNORTHCOM JCC has been ready to operate since Feb. 27. Wright said the center should reach full operational capability within 10 months.
“Now that the Secretary of Defense has approved the Transitional Cyber command and control concept of operations, we have 30 days to stand up and 12 months to validate our processes, so there may be tweaks here and there,” he said.
Wright said he was excited to be able to provide the NORAD and USNORTHCOM commander with one more tool to meet his responsibilities. “Once we normalize it, it’ll be a great asset to commander,” he said. “It will provide him with another tool to do one of the commands’ primary missions; homeland defense.”