AFCEA Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium: Bringing Light to DoD Missions?


The AFCEA Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium proved to be a successful event for another year in a row.  Having been rescheduled due to the Baltimore political climate in May, the event took place over three days from June 16-18 at the Convention Center in the heart of the city with an exceptional turn-out.  The location, a facility of immense capacity surrounded on all sides by lively intersections and corporate offices was wholly appropriate, symbolizing the collaboration of our vast government and the bustling, innovative industry that encompasses it; a partnership crucial to ensuring effective solutions to operate, secure, and defend our networks.

Each day was precisely organized to offer both the public and private sector attendees the greatest level of information sharing and networking.  With coordinated Panel Sessions and Keynote Speakers throughout the schedule such as Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins, Jr., USAF, Director of DISA and Mr. Brett Whalin, VP/CISO of Hewlett Packard, and periods of Industry Interfacing on the Exhibit Floor, the event successfully mingled industry and customer.  While there was a diverse selection to attend, “Command and Control (C2) for the DODIN*” was a theater session that particularly resonated due to the panel format which included:

Colonel Patricia Rinaldi, USAF

Director, Strategy, Plans & Exercises

Captain Jeff Buss, USN

DISA Command Center

Colonel Nora Marcos, USA


The Command and Control Mission Support unit was initially stood up at DISA two years ago and contributes to the overarching theme to operate, secure, and defend the DODIN. Partially due to the young age of C2, a significant need for professionals is evident. Essentially, Colonel Rinaldi emphasizes: C2 is a team sport and the government needs contractors.

To further outline her point, it’s important to understand C2 is viewed under two very different lenses: Global and Regional. As can be expected by the variation in scales, each segment varies widely when dissected into their three tiers.

Since cybersecurity is a modern domain developed to complete the defense territories (Air, Land, and Sea), it is unsurprising that the  Tier II Operational Focus Areas (Situation Monitoring, Decision Making, Force Direction, Force Management, and Planning) are borrowed from the established Air Force Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications (NC3)*. This is only sensible due to the success of the Air Force domain’s Command and Control over the last several decades.*Air Force Instruction 13-550 dated 2 October 2014

Ultimately, DoD C2 emphasizes the combined arms effort of cybersecurity, syncing across the agency.  For any generalized threats that aren’t agency specific, the JFHQ DODIN compiles all, completing the united mission.  Most significantly, the C2 system successfully provides whole and accurate data in a manner that supports our U.S. Armed Forces by guaranteeing the most updated information is available.  Universally, the continued innovative outlook on the defense architecture ensures the most advanced security of our technology and fundamentally, the United States.

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