- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - The commanding general of the Army Cyber Command said this week that his team expects to break ground next year on a defense network at Fort Gordon that will work with private technology firms, and the federal departments of justice and homeland security.

Speaking before a crowd of more than 500 people at TechNet Augusta’s second annual military conference on Tuesday, Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon provided the first public details on how the Army Cyber Command will function at Fort Gordon.

Cardon said his command will organize its operations through the Defense Department’s Information Network and guard its work with a protective tier of sensors, firewalls and perimeter devices.

The next layer, which he described as “groundbreaking work,” will target specific threats and focus on creating missions to diffuse enemy operations.

Cardon could not share much about the third and final level of the new network, citing classified information, but said it primarily will involve “offensive cyberspace operations.”

“We are absolutely dependent on this network,” Cardon said during his keynote address. “As the Army gets smaller, we are going to use the network to enable our forces to look bigger than they are on a global level.”

Cardon said he has yet to move to Augusta but expects his command, along with the Cyber Center of Excellence and related missions, to be up and running in the area in four years.

The lieutenant general said he will testify Wednesday before the House Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities for Congress to change defense policies to transfer or hire civilian workers under short-term contracts from private technology firms and other branches of military and government.

With cyberspace attacks increasing in volume and complexity, Cardon said his command needs employees specialized in data analysis to help combat threats.

“This is not just to a military issue. I am working with the federal departments of justice and homeland security,” the commander said. “We are all in this together. It is not as if the network is somehow just an independent military entity hanging off to the side.”

Cardon said cyberspace eventually will become its own military domain that will apply to all six war fighting functions: maneuver, intelligence, fires, sustainment, command and protection.

“Partnerships and collaboration are critical,” he said. “All this technology must fit into a scheme of operations.”

Cardon said the goal is to develop a joint network among all branches of the military but that at the moment, converging wireless and advanced computing technology makes it difficult to know where the Army will be in two to three years.

He challenged leaders to think outside the box during the three-day conference’s panel discussions, saying that the military is not yet “bold and innovative” enough to combat emerging threats to national security.

Last year, 2,600 people, 1,000 more than expected, attended the event, helping raise the profile of Fort Gordon and the Augusta community as an area equipped to inherit the Army’s cyberspace operations.

This year, the event is expecting to have 140 exhibitors and close to the same number of attendees.

“Challenge the presenters. We really want to have a great exchange of ideas,” said Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, who assumed command of Fort Gordon and Cyber Center of Excellence on Monday. “It is vital for industry, academia, government and the (Defense Department) to work very closely together to track the issues and challenges we’ll face in the days and years ahead.”

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Information from: The Augusta Chronicle , http://www.augustachronicle.com

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