35+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Cyber Brief: United States Department of Defense Cyber Operations

Published: Jan 24, 2018

Edited by Michael Martelle

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Catherine A. Theohary and Anne I. Harrington, Congressional Research Service, Cyber Operations in DOD Policy and Plans: Issues for Congress, January 5, 2015. Unclassified.

The body of this study consists of four parts - background (which includes discussions of cyber weapons, targets, as well as actors and attribution), a brief examination of the Cyber Command, a section on authorities (legislative, executive branch, and international), and an exploration of issues for Congress.

U.S. Strategic Command, USCYBERCOM Announcement Message, May 21, 2010. Unclassified/For Official Use Only.

This message notifies recipients that the U.S. Strategic Command has established a subordinate command, the U.S. Cyber Command, with initial operational capability as of May 21, 2010. It also specifies the mission of the new command, its responsibilities, organization, and command relationships.

Kevin P. Chilton, U.S. Strategic Command, Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, Subject: Full Operational Capability (FOC) of U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM), September 21, 2010. Secret.

This memo from the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, the parent command of the U.S. Cyber Command, recommends that the latter, established that May (Document 6), be declared fully operational. It also summarizes the Cyber Command's six key missions, including one that is partially classified.

Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Publication 3-12 (R), Cyberspace Operations, February 3, 2013. Unclassified.

This formerly restricted publication discusses cyberspace (including national intelligence) operations; authorities, roles, and responsibilities (including legal considerations); and planning and coordination (including inter-organizational and multinational considerations).

U.S. Cyber Command, Beyond the Build: Delivering Outcomes through Cyberspace - The Commander's Vision and Guidance for US Cyber Command, June 3, 2015. Unclassified.

This vision document identifies key objectives for the U.S. Cyber Command (including integrating cyberspace operations in support of joint force operations), and identifies the "enablers" that are expected to allow achievement of those objectives.

Department of Defense, The DOD Cyber Strategy, April 17, 2015. Unclassified.

The two main components of this strategy document are the identification of five strategic goals (including establishing forces and capabilities to conduct cyberspace operations and the ability to defend against disruptive or destructive cyber attacks) and the implementation objectives associated with the strategic goals.

United States Cyber Command, Mission Analysis Brief: Cyber Support to Counter ISIL, April 12, 2016. Unclassified.

This document outlines the cyber mission to counter ISIL. See also: USCYBERCOM to CDRUSACYBER


USCYBERCOM to CDRUSACYBER, Subj: CYBERCOM FRAGORD 01 to TASKORD 16-0063 To Establish Joint Task Force (JTF)-ARES to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Cyber Space, May 5, 2016. Secret//Rel to USA, [Redacted].

The unit established by this order, the subject of an article in the Washington Post, was assigned the mission of developing malware and other cyber-tools in order to escalate operations to damage and destroy ISIS networks, computers, and mobile phones.

House Committee on Armed Services, Implementing the Department of Defense Cyber Strategy, September 2016. Unclassified.

This hearing document contains the prepared statement and testimony of the commander of the U.S. Cyber Command as well as responses to questions asked during and after the hearing.

United States Congress, Statement of Brig Gen Mary F O'Brien, USAF, to the Senate Armed Services Committee Closed Hearing Entitled "Cyber Threats to the United States", April 4 2017. Top Secret.

In this testimony, delivered in a closed hearing, USCYBERCOM's Brigadier General O'Brien explains the most concerning threats to US cyber and explains the role of her specific command, the Intelligence Directorate, in supporting USCYBERCOM operations.

Admiral Michael S. Rogers, Commander United States Cyber Command, "Statement before the Senate Committee on Armed Services," May 9, 2017.

In his testimony, the commander of the U.S. Cyber Command (and director of the National Security Agency) covers the cyber threat environment, the Cyber Command in operation, and conclusions.