U.S. Cyber Command Year in Review 2022 Shows Major Steps to Defend Nation from Cyber Adversaries

Credit: U.S. Cyber Command

In June 2022, U.S. Cyber Command (CyberCom) Director General Paul Nakasone, who also heads the National Security Agency (NSA), said the U.S. had conducted offensive cyber operations in support of Ukraine as it tries to fend off Russian aggression. Nakasone’s remarks were the first official announcement by the U.S. that it is involved in cyber activities in support of Ukraine.

“We’ve conducted a series of operations across the full spectrum: offensive, defensive, [and] information operations,” Nakasone said in an interview with Sky News at the time.

That would prove to be one of CyberCom’s mission statements for the entire year. Indeed, the Ukraine operation was one of a number of accomplishments the Command achieved during 2022, as outlined in its year in review for 2022.

CyberCom 2022 Highlights

Here are some of CyberCom’s highlights:

Hunt forward operations.

  • The Cyber National Mission Force (CNMF) deployed its largest-ever hunt forward team with the consent of Ukraine. The joint CNMF team of U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps operators hunted for malicious cyber activity on Ukrainian networks. CNMF is the U.S. military’s joint cyber force charged with defending the nation in cyberspace through offensive, defensive, and information operations.
  • Valuable insights into adversarial tools and capabilities were shared with U.S. domestic interagency and public/private industry partners to improve U.S. homeland cyber defenses.

Multi-national cyber exercises.

  • Conducted two iterations of CyberCom’s annual exercise, CYBER FLAG: CF22 and CF23-1. CYBER FLAG enhances readiness and interoperability as national and multinational cyber teams must collaborate to navigate various real-world cyber threat scenarios. CF22 included Cyber Protection Teams from every “Five Eyes” nation.
  • Hosted a Multinational Symposium and Tabletop Exercise, in which partner nation representatives and interagency partners collaborated in discussions and working groups to reinforce the impact that training, partnerships, and information sharing have on interoperability.

Partnerships.

  • In November, CyberCom participated in the eleventh bi-annual Cyber Commanders Forum CCF11, hosted by the Estonian Defense Forces Cyber Command. CCF11 was a strategic event in which cyber commanders from around the globe came together to exchange ideas in the pursuit of cyber defense.

Election Security.

  • Stood up the joint CyberCom-NSA Election Security Group to oversee and direct our efforts to disrupt, deter and degrade foreign adversaries’ ability to interfere with and influence our elections.
  • Partnered with the private sector and U.S. allies, sharing information and building up insight gained from previous election cycles.

Integrated Deterrence.

  • In November, struck a partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is a research and development agency of the DoD. It is responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military.

Cyber National Mission Force Sub Unified Establishment.

  • In December, CNMF was officially elevated to the Department of Defense’s newest subordinate unified command, reflecting the evolution and need for a dedicated, persistent, and professional cyber force.
  • Elevation to sub-unified command will drive how forces are presented to CNMF, how personnel will train, and the authorities CNMF will have.
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