Friday, August 15, 2008

Standing Down

At first glance, most people probably wouldn't pay much attention to this story:

The Air Force on Monday suspended all efforts related to development of a program to become the dominant service in cyberspace, according to knowledgeable sources. Top Air Force officials put a halt to all activities related to the establishment of the Cyber Command, a provisional unit that is currently part of the 8th Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, sources told Nextgov.

An internal Air Force e-mail obtained by Nextgov said, “Transfers of manpower and resources, including activation and reassignment of units, shall be halted.” Establishment of the Cyber Command will be delayed until new senior Air Force leaders, including Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz, sworn in today, have time to make a final decision on the scope and mission of the command.

It might not seem like much, but this is a pretty earth-shaking realignment for the Air Force as a whole and for our area in particular. Why? Here's a flashback to a story from last month that didn't get much attention at the time:

The Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome could gain more jobs during the next two years.

The U.S. Air Force’s Cyber Command is considering putting a section of its headquarters in Rome, as well as other installations across the country, said Lt. Col. Michael Convertino, who is overseeing development aspects of the new command.

A handful of personnel may come soon, he said.

“It’s a handful now, and we are not sure how much it’s likely to grow over time. As a local, I’m excited about it myself,” said Convertino, who grew up in Utica.

When it is fully functional, the command headquarters will consist of between 450 and 500 people spread across 10 locations. Some of the locations could get as many as 100 people, Convertino said.

I think the odds of the area seeing a major influx of Cyber Command personnel are now pretty slim.