By Michael Wang
The Cyber National Mission Force (CNMF) protects America from cyber attacks and potential threats from other countries. It holds great importance within the military, as the world of technology is ever-growing, and the United States has to keep up in order to maintain dominance and protect itself and its allies. With the new CNMF providing support to the U.S. Army Cyber Command, the way we move forward in the protection of our cyber connections will completely change.

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What Is the Cyber National Mission Force?

The Cyber National Mission Force is the United States military's joint cyber force that’s responsible for defending the nation through different operation tactics, which include offensive and defensive strategies. They primarily support the U.S. Cyber Command and national priorities, including election security, ransomware, cyber espionage, and other potential threats against the cyber security of the United States. General Paul Nakasone, the commander of U.S. Cyber Command, has had great success in leading teams within his division to propel technology and integrate it into military missions. Some of the operations that the CNMF has had a huge hand in making successful, according to Major General William J. Hartman, commander of the Cyber National Mission Force, are election defense, protecting the U.S. in the wake of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis, counter-ransomware operations, global hunt operations, and supporting thousands of national security operations. For example, during the divisive midterm elections in 2018, maintaining and preserving the security of those elections was the top priority of the CNMF and the National Security Agency.

History and Structure of the U.S. Cyber Command

The CNMF was created in order to fill the U.S. Cyber Command’s need for an “agile joint force” that would engage with our adversaries in cyberspace. The mission of the Cyber National Mission Force is to plan and synchronize cybersecurity operations to “disrupt and if necessary, defeat adversary cyber and malign influence.” Since its formation back in 2014, the U.S. Cyber Command Cyber National Mission Force has been gaining the attention of the government and meeting the needs of the nation. The CNMF is always there and ready to respond to every national crisis that the United States faces. The Cyber National Mission Force may be a new addition to the military, but it was well-rounded from the beginning with “21 teams, 13 Cyber National Mission Teams and 8 Direct Support Teams.” Now, the CNMF is composed of “39 joint cyber teams organized in six task forces with 2,000-plus Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Guardians, and NSA and DIA civilians.” Part of the reason that the CNMF is successful is because of their partnerships with different units. The CNMF is only one part of the Department of Defense, but they work closely with their partners, which include the DHS (Department of Homeland Security), FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), and industry-specific and international partners. Additionally, the National Security Agency’s intelligence lays the foundation for the operations at the Cyber National Mission Force, which helps drive mission outcomes.

How Will It Contribute to the Military?

The CNMF will combat foreign malicious cyber actors, defend against people who have malicious intent to exploit the weaknesses of information systems and access people’s data, and continue their support of their national and international priorities. Back in 2018, the CNMF executed about “40 hunt forward operations, thousands of remote cyber operations, and has participated in almost every national security crisis the United States has ever faced.” Through and through, the creation of the Cyber National Mission Force has benefited the United States government and the military, and it will continue to do so while acting as a beacon of protection against the forces of evil.

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