After spending most of the past decade defending the Department of Defense’s computer networks, the Joint Task Force Global Network Operations command cased its colors.
Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, presided over the ceremony. He said that although the ceremony marked the end of the task force’s tenure, its mission continues.
“Today, we’re rolling the flag at JTF-GNO, but we’re not rolling the mission,” he said. “This mission will continue on at U.S. Cyber Command and will be as essential tomorrow as it is today to the United States of America.”
Initially, the mission of the task force was to conduct offensive and defensive cyber operations. The task force was later redesignated as JTF Computer Network Operations to assume the offensive role. The JTF Global Network Operations also was established.
The new task force’s mission was to direct the operation and defense of the global information grid throughout war fighting, intelligence and business missions within the department.
Since its activation, JTF Global Network Operations has ensured support to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Operation Noble Eagle and the overall global war on terror.
Cybercom was activated in May. The JTF Computer Network Operations followed soon after. JTF Global Network Operations’ deactivation culminates years of work and effort to integrate Cybercom into its operations, Chilton said.
JTF Global Network’s final commander Army Lt. Gen. Carroll F. Pollett assumed command of JTF Global Network Operations and duties as director of the Defense Information Systems Agency in November 2008. He remains director of DISA.
As the JTF Global Network Operations colors are retired for the final time, Pollett said he is reminded of the historical significance of the transition of the task force to Cybercom. The information environment, he said, has evolved dramatically, and today the information grid is more than something that enhances capabilities.
“[Information] has become an operational imperative in our ability to deliver decisive capabilities to warfighters and our national leaders,” the general said. “Cyberspace has evolved into a new warfighter domain. Cyberspace has proven equal and just as important as air, sea, land and space as a domain. It’s clear that it must be defended and operationalized.”
Pollett praised the people under his command for their efforts, calling them “pioneers” on the cyber domain front.
“It’s an honor to recognize the [JTF Global Network Operations] men and women, past and present, for their extraordinary accomplishments in working in the cyber domain,” he said. “You led the way for dramatic changes in the Department of Defense as the mission, requirements and threats evolved.”