New type of Marines for a new battlefield
By Cpl. Alexis Betances
| III Marine Expeditionary Force | December 7, 2018
Marines with the color guard prepare to march forward at the start of the Defense Cyberspace Operations Internal Defense Measures Company activation ceremony at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, Dec. 7, 2018. Lt. Col. Michael Hlad, the battalion commander of 7th Communication Battalion, served as the reviewing officer during the ceremony. DCO-IDM Company is III MEF Information Group’s first line of defense against cyber-attacks in the Indo-Pacific region. The Marines are with 7th Communication Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Alexis B. Betances)
The 7th Communication Battalion held the Activation of Command ceremony for the Defensive Cyberspace Operations Internal Defense Measures Company on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, December 7.
DCO-IDM is an information-related capability of III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group. Defensive Cyber Operations are intended to assure mission success within the Marine Air Ground Task Force by defending mission-critical information and warfighting systems against a cyberspace attack. This provides the commander freedom of action in cyberspace and provides Marines a more secure network both in the field and in garrison.
The Marine Corps has established three DCO-IDM companies since July to assist in achieving digital resiliency. The newly-formed companies within each MEF stand as part of the Marine Corps’ force modernization plan, referred to as “Force 2025.” The plan describes a shift in the Corps to better adapt and employ its forces for the ever-changing and unpredictable future.
In the last 20 years, the need for information, information systems, and digital network connectivity within the United States Armed Forces has increased to continue support of warfighting functions. According to members of 7th Communication Battalion, American adversaries have kept pace in the evolving cyber-battlespace, increasing in capabilities, frequency, and complexity of attacks.
“From ‘script kiddies’ to ‘hacktivists’ to state-sponsored actors, nothing is off limits, and each has different motives,” explained 7th Communication Battalion commanding officer Lt. Col. Michael Hlad, “Due to the low cost of entry, software-enabled weapons systems and information network systems are prime targets for asymmetric attacks from global threats, internal or external to the region. The DCO-IDM Company is an extra measure dedicated to countering such attacks.”
The development of this capability allows III MEF Information Group to stay competitive in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Area of Responsibility. This activation ceremony signals another step toward achieving that end.