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U.S. Strategic Command Public Affairs, 901 SAC Blvd, Suite 1A1, Offutt AFB NE 68113-6020

Joint Task Force - Computer Network Operations


Subject to the authority and direction of the commander, U.S. Strategic Command, JTF-CNO will, in conjunction with the unified commands, services and DOD agencies, coordinate and direct the defense of DOD computer systems and networks; coordinate and, when directed, conduct computer network attack in support of combatant commanders' and national objectives.


The Joint Task Force-Computer Network Operations (JTF-CNO) is Strategic Command's operational component for Computer Network Operations (CNO), and supports USSTRATCOM Commander in the integration of Computer Network Defense and Computer Network Attack capabilities into the operations of U.S. military forces. Computer Network Operations are comprised of two specific yet complementary mission areas: Computer Network Defense (CND) and Computer Network Attack (CNA).

The CND mission is to defend DOD computer networks and systems from any unauthorized event whether it be a probe, scan, virus incident, or intrusion. The CNA mission is to coordinate, support and conduct, at the direction of the president, computer network attack operations in support of regional and national objectives.


Joint Task Force-Computer Network Defense (JTF-CND) reached initial operational capability on Dec. 30, 1998, after exercises and real-world events demonstrated the need for a single coordinating agency with the authority to direct actions necessary for the protection of the Defense Information Infrastructure (DII).

Under the Unified Command Plan 1999 (UCP 99), effective Oct. 1, 1999, the President assigned the CND mission to the U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM), with the JTF-CND as the subordinate command responsible for executing CND operations.

UCP-99 also designated USSPACECOM as the military lead for Computer Network Attack (CNA) effective Oct. 1, 2000. The USSPACECOM Deputy Director of Operations-Computer Network Attack (DDO-CNA) served as the initial focal point for the CNA mission.

In December 2000, USCINCSPACE directed his staff to assess the feasibility of combining specific aspects of CND and CNA under a single operational commander.

The intent behind the consolidation was to operationalize CND and CNA and fully integrate those capabilities with air, land, sea and space forces across the full spectrum of conflict. Effective April 2, 2001, JTF-CND was re-designated Joint Task Force-Computer Network Operations (JTF-CNO). Effective Oct. 1, 2002, JTF-CNO was assigned to the commander, U.S. Strategic Command.

The JTF-CNO components are the U.S. Army's 1st Information Operations Command (LAND) (1ST IOC[L]), formerly known as the Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA); Marine Forces-Integrated Network Operations (MARFOR-INO); Navy Component Task Force-Computer Network Defense (NCTF-CND); Air Force Forces-Computer Network Operations (AFFOR-CNO); and DISA's DOD Computer Emergency Response Team (DOD CERT).

JTF-CNO maintains watch 24 hours per day, seven days a week, and is located in Arlington, Va. It is colocated with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Global Network Operations and Security Center (GNOSC) to optimize the commander, JTF-CNO's ability to monitor the status of DOD information networks and conduct operations across the defense information infrastructure.

For the CND mission, the JTF-CNO leverages the existing intrusion detection capabilities of the unified commands, its components, and DOD and non-DOD agencies. The JTF-CNO receives intrusion data from these sources and then fuses this critical information along with ongoing operational missions, and intelligence and technical data into a "big picture" synopsis of the incident.

With this correlated information, the JTF-CNO assesses the impact to network operations and military operations, identifies courses of action that will restore the network, coordinates the necessary actions with the appropriate DOD or non-DOD organizations, prepares a plan to execute and, with approval, executes that order. The JTF-CNO can direct appropriate actions through its four military service components and the DOD CERT.

For the CNA mission, the JTF-CNO is responsible for ensuring that CNA capabilities can be efficiently employed in support of U.S. National Security objectives. The JTF-CNO, along with the USSTRATCOM staff, services, other combatant commanders, and defense agencies, is working to develop and implement comprehensive policies, structures, roles and missions for computer network operations. The initial U.S. Strategic Command concept of operations calls for the supported commander, assisted by the JTF-CNO, to integrate service-provided forces into military plans and operations. USSTRATCOM will coordinate the use of all DOD CNA assets for the supported commander.


The JTF-CNO is currently authorized 122 positions.


JTF-CNO operates on a projected yearly budget of about $26 million.

(Current as of February 2003)