Navy forms Top Gun cyber group

Breaking Defense:
This month, the Navy will launch the cyber equivalent of its famous TOPGUN course for fighter pilots. The school will teach selected cyber specialists the best tactics to keep hackers our of Navy networks.

Much like TOPGUN, which is now part of the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC) in Fallon, Nevada, the new Information Warfare Development Center (IWDC) will bring top-notch specialists together to train on and refine the latest tactics, then send them back to the fleet to teach those best practices to the rest of the force. (Kelly McGinnis and homoerotic volleyball are, sadly, not on the real-life curriculum).

Getting the Information Warfare Development Center to Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is “the most important thing we do this year for information warfare,” said Rear Adm. Matthew Kohler, commander of Naval Information Forces. The center will reach Initial Operational Capability by “mid-March,” when Capt. John Watkins arrives to become the first head of IWDC, Kohler said at the recent AFCEA-USNI West 2017 conference in San Diego. As of IOC, Watkins will head a staff of 150 to 200 personnel, a mix of regular active-duty sailors, reservists, and civilians.

Kohler’s Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR) command, which includes codebreakers, various intelligence specialists, and meteorologists well as cyber and electronic warriors, is itself less than three years old. Standing up a Warfare Development Center of their own will put information warriors on a more equal footing with the far more established aviation, surface warship, and submarine communities, which already have such centers at which to hone their craft.
It is an element of modern warfare that needs this kind of attention by all branches of the service.

Since the invention of electronic communications from telegraphs to early radio calls, intercepting enemy conversations and protecting one's own has been a key to victory.  Intercepting Japanese code and breaking it was a key to the US victory at Midway in World War II.  Breaking the code on the German's Ultra machine gave the British and US insight into movements and reactions on the German side.


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