Download

Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.7 MB Best for desktop computers.

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7.0 or higher for the best experience.

ePub file 2.1 MB Best for mobile devices.

On desktop computers and some mobile devices, you may need to download an eBook reader to view ePub files. Calibre is an example of a free and open source e-book library management application.

mobi file 1.4 MB Best for Kindle 1-3.

On desktop computers and some mobile devices, you may need to download an eBook reader to view mobi files. Amazon Kindle is the most popular reader for mobi files.

Research Synopsis

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.1 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7.0 or higher for the best experience.

Purchase

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback80 pages $21.00 $16.80 20% Web Discount

Research Questions

  1. What lessons do the history and development of U.S. special operations forces and U.S. Special Operations Command hold for the contemporary cyber force?
  2. How can U.S. Cyber Command organize to ensure that needed cyber capabilities are acquired rapidly and efficiently?
  3. What types of authorities will U.S. Cyber Command require to ensure that joint, service, and warfighter needs are met?

With the establishment of U.S. Cyber Command in 2010, the cyber force is gaining visibility and authority, but challenges remain, particularly in the areas of acquisition and personnel recruitment and career progression. A review of commonalities, similarities, and differences between the still-nascent U.S. cyber force and early U.S. special operations forces, conducted in 2010, offers salient lessons for the future direction of U.S. cyber forces. Although U.S. special operations forces (SOF) have a long and storied history and now represent a mature, long-standing capability, they struggled in the 1970s and 1980s before winning an institutional champion and joint home in the form of U.S. Special Operations Command. U.S. cyber forces similarly represent a new but critical set of military capabilities. Both SOF and cyber forces are, at their operating core, small teams of highly skilled specialists, and both communities value skilled personnel above all else. Irregular warfare and SOF doctrine lagged operational activities, and the same is true of the cyber force. Early SOF, like the contemporary cyber force, lacked organizational cohesion, a unified development strategy, and institutionalized training. Perhaps most importantly, the capabilities of both forces have traditionally been inadequate to meet demand. The analogy holds for issues of acquisition, the two forces' relationship with the conventional military, their applicability across the spectrum of combat, and their historic need for a strong advocate for reform. The analogy is not perfect, however. In terms of core capabilities, force accession, and tradition, the forces are also very different. But even these differences offer fundamental lessons for both the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Army with regard to the future and potential of the cyber force.

Key Findings

The Experiences of U.S. Special Operations Forces Offer Valuable Lessons for the Nascent U.S. Cyber Force

  • The history of U.S. special operations force evolution, culminating in the 1986 establishment of U.S. Special Operations Command, has much to offer by way of lessons for the contemporary cyber force, including U.S. Army cyber forces.
  • An analogy can be made between the special operations and cyber communities, but it is important to assess their differences as well as their commonalities and similarities.
  • Like U.S. special operations forces prior to the establishment of U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. cyber forces need advocacy and a joint organizational home.

U.S. Cyber Forces Also Have a Unique Set of Needs and Requirements

  • Although it is much more dependent than early SOF on technical acquisition choices at the joint force level, the cyber force also needs better funding support and a rapid acquisition capability.
  • In contrast to U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Cyber Command needs nontraditional personnel authorities, particularly to facilitate the recruitment of highly skilled personnel from the private sector.

Recommendations

  • The U.S. Department of Defense should empower U.S. Cyber Command as the joint home for the cyber community.
  • The U.S. Army should support U.S. Cyber Command as the lead force coordinator and empower U.S. Army Cyber Command to develop clear career trajectories for Army cyber forces.
  • It is critical for the Army to recognize the "precarious value" of the cyber force and provide ample support for these capabilities. For this reason, it is important to provide the Army's cyber force with nontraditional authorities.
  • Cyber forces need a rapid and flexible ability to acquire cyber-specific tools. It could be modeled on the U.S. Special Operations Command rapid acquisition approach.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Special Operations Forces Before U.S. Special Operations Command

  • Chapter Three

    The Transition to and Evolution of U.S. Special Operations Command

  • Chapter Four

    Cyber Forces and U.S. Cyber Command

  • Chapter Five

    Confirming the Analogy: How Alike Are Pre–U.S. Special Operations Command Forces and Contemporary Cyber Forces?

  • Chapter Six

    Lessons for U.S. Cyber Forces from U.S. Special Operations Command Acquisitions

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions and Recommendations

The research was conducted within RAND Arroyo Center's Force Development and Technology program. RAND Arroyo Center, part of the RAND Corporation, is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Army.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.