The Coast Guard’s cyber unit is petitioning the Department of Defense to become part of the Pentagon’s cyber army.
The maritime force – which, while a uniformed service, falls under the Department of Homeland Security – is working with DOD staff to finalize the submission of a request package for formal recognition as a member of the cyber mission force.
The cyber mission force is the 133 offensive and defensive cyber teams that conduct operations for U.S. Cyber Command. Each of the services are responsible for providing a set amount of teams to Cybercom. DOD has authorized the growth of an additional 14 teams over the next four years.
Despite not considered formal members of the cyber mission force, members of the Coast Guard have and continue to serve on teams, primarily on the Cyber National Mission Force, Cybercom’s elite cyber warriors tasked with defending the nation from cyber threats, according to sources.
“The Coast Guard enjoys strong relationships with U.S. Cyber Command and our fellow Service Cyber Components across the Joint Force and is seeking formal recognition as a member of the Cyber Mission Force,” according to a Coast Guard spokesperson. “Formal recognition would enable Coast Guard Cyber Command to achieve parity with other Service Cyber Components and enable the Coast Guard’s operational teams to support DOD, DHS and U.S. Coast Guard strategic priorities.”
The Coast Guard isn’t currently responsible for providing any full teams to Cybercom. Individual members of the Coast Guard, however, serve on teams within the cyber mission force.
Cybercom and the Department of Defense declined to comment regarding what formal recognition of the Coast Guard would mean for the cyber mission force.
Sources indicated it could make the Coast Guard’s Cyber Command eligible for funding designated for the cyber mission force and expand their role when acting in a Title 10 capacity, which is the portion of the law that deals with the armed forces.
The Coast Guard has always been an asset to the cyber force given its unique law enforcement and port authorities. It can perform roles and missions outside the bounds of the DOD.
“CGCYBER brings its expertise and unique law enforcement authorities to serve as a valued interagency partner at U.S. Cyber Command and the Department of Defense. Together, CGCYBER gives U.S. Cyber Command the capabilities to respond to foreign and domestic threats,” a bulletin from Cybercom states.
The Coast Guard is “already teammates with us and they already come to our meetings, all those kind of things, but they will be officially part of the cyber mission force, which is exciting because we can use the authorities that they have on, say like port security,” Brig. Gen. Reid Novotny, special assistant to the director Air National Guard for Cybercom, J5, said at a conference in early June.