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NEWS | March 25, 2024

First of its kind deployment of Marine cyber forces to the INDO-PACOM Theater

By Maj. Zachary Leuthardt, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command

Marines assigned to U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyber Command deployed to Okinawa, Japan as part of the inaugural iteration of a new cyber rotational force concept.

The cyber rotational force concept brings experts in defensive cyber operations to assist tactical and operational units stationed with geographic combatant commands.

“Cyber defense is crucial, and as our capabilities continually mature, it is important that we support the warfighters and units tasked with ensuring our competitive edge throughout the globe,” said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Ryan P. Heritage, the commander of MARFORCYBER. “Ensuring we have the skills and resources to maintain resilient, reliable networks to support rapid decision making at every level is at the heart of what we do. This is just another step in realizing that goal.”

The team, made up of defensive cyber operations professionals assigned to MARFORCYBER, will join with defensive cyber operations Marines assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Their mission will be to harden Marine Corps and joint networks in order to better enable the maneuver of units throughout the Western Pacific, knowing that critical infrastructure, networks and systems are effectively monitored and secured.

The forward deployment of cyber forces to operational theaters such as the INDO-PACIFIC, is one way MARFORCYBER is assisting units’ operational and tactical network resiliency in challenging environments.

“Protecting critical networks located inside the weapons engagement zone of several regional adversaries is essential to our ability to physically and virtually maneuver,” said Lt. Gen. William M. Jurney, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. “We are excited to work with MARFORCYBER on the cyber rotational force concept and, look forward to the resilience and flexibility their experts can provide our force.”

While the cyber rotational force’s immediate mission is to harden the networks units in the Western Pacific rely upon to complete their mission, it is also a chance to refine the tactics that will be needed in future conflicts against sophisticated adversaries.

“As the threat to our critical cyber infrastructure evolves, it is essential that the Marine Corps be able to defend our forward deployed networks,” Jurney said. “This will be crucial to the Marine Corps’ development of the expeditionary advance basing and stand-in force concepts.”

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