WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Air Force's goals now include "fighting" in cyberspace, according to a new mission statement released this week.
A cyberspace security responsibility was newly included in the mission statement, released Wednesday. The new mission statement, intended to set the current and future direction of the Air Force, reads: "The mission of the United States Air Force is to deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests--to fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace."
A story on the Air Force Web site quotes a letter to airmen from Michael Wynne, secretary of the Air Force, and Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the Air Force chief of staff, saying U.S. enemies will use any means to strike at the country and it is the Air Force's calling to "dominate" air, space and cyberspace.
The Air Force is the first of the five branches of the U.S. military to include fighting in cyberspace as part of its core mission.
However, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has advocated training the military to also defend cyberspace. The government has also warned of potential virtual attacks in response to conventional military action.
"We have quite a few of our Airmen dedicated to cyberspace ... from security awareness, making sure the networks can't be penetrated, as well as figuring out countermeasures," the Air Force-written story quotes Wynne as saying. "The Air Force is a natural leader in the cyber world and we thought it would be best to recognize that talent."
An Air Force spokesperson declined to further elaborate, saying Wynne was tentatively scheduled to talk about the new mission statement in a press conference next week.
The term, "sovereign options," was also new to the mission statement, according to the Air Force Web site.