US Southern Command Unveils New Network Operations and Security Center

US Southern Command Unveils New Network Operations and Security Center

By U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs
January 06, 2021

U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) has unveiled its newest warfighting asset, a $1.3 million Network Operations and Security Center (NOSC). The NOSC is designed to lead the command and control of network management and cybersecurity activities throughout the SOUTHCOM enterprise.

In the perpetually contested domain of cyberspace, the NOSC will provide situational awareness that is critical to enterprise, national, and hemispheric security.

From this center, highly skilled information technology personnel will monitor and reinforce the security of SOUTHCOM cyber activities, while also surveying activity in the cyber domain at large. The NOSC is also developing capabilities in artificial intelligence and machine learning to triage cybersecurity needs as they arise within the command.

At the heart of SOUTHCOM’s mission to enhance security between the U.S. and partner nations is the command’s first line of effort: to strengthen partnerships.

Strengthening partnerships is a whole of government effort. The NOSC is integrated with the Joint Cyber Center to characterize identified threats and support informed, defensive cyber operations decisions. The NOSC also conducts synchronization activities with the Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network.

SOUTHCOM looks forward to inviting defense officials from partner nations to see the NOSC and learn how its capabilities work to operationalize the cyber domain. As Mr. Nitin Patel, deputy director of SOUTHCOM’s U.S. Army Network Enterprise Center said, “these shaping engagements will inform country specific plans to conduct tailored training, focused ultimately on interoperability between partner nation cyber security defenders and the SOUTHCOM NOSC.  We are stronger together. Concepts like this enable us to transition from reactive cyber defense to proactive cyber defense.”

“These shaping engagements will inform country specific plans to conduct tailored training, focused ultimately on interoperability between partner nation cyber security defenders and the SOUTHCOM NOSC.  We are stronger together. Concepts like this enable us to transition from reactive cyber defense to proactive cyber defense,” Mr. Nitin Patel, deputy director of SOUTHCOM’s U.S. Army Network Enterprise Center.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges, equally unique solutions have been implemented. The NOSC, built as a collaborative environment, plans to assume a 24-hour battle rhythm beginning in January 2021, with strict adherence to SOUTHCOM’s force health protection guidelines.

Under the direction of its battle captain, the NOSC will carry out critical IT services like patching software and monitoring a broad spectrum of cyber security tools, while also providing situational awareness in the cyberspace warfighting domain. “We monitor everything, from state of the world cyberattack activities, to specific threats in this region of the world to include external state actor activity,” said Patel.

This awareness will allow SOUTHCOM’s combatant commander to make threat-informed decisions on defensive cyber operations. As U.S. Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, SOUTHCOM commander, said at the ribbon cutting ceremony, “We really have now taken that necessary step to operationalize cyber in a way that helps us defend and helps us recognize this key terrain moving forward.”

“We really have now taken that necessary step to operationalize cyber in a way that helps us defend and helps us recognize this key terrain moving forward,” U.S. Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, SOUTHCOM commander.

The establishment of SOUTHCOM’s NOSC is part of a larger effort within the Department of Defense to collaborate with interagency, industry, and international partners in defending forward against malicious, adversarial cyberthreats.

With the NOSC, SOUTHCOM is postured to compete in the 24/7 contested cyberspace domain.

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