Air Force: Cyber Warriors Need Plenty of Rest

New guidance from the U.S. Air Force on the use of cyberspace weapons directs Air Force personnel to get a good night’s sleep prior to performing military cyberspace operations and to refrain from alcohol while on duty.

“Crew rest is compulsory for any crew member prior to performing any crew duty on any cyber weapon system,” the May 5 guidance says. “Each crew member is individually responsible to ensure he or she obtains sufficient rest during crew rest periods.”

Furthermore, “Crew members will not perform cyberspace mission duties within 12 hours of consuming alcohol or other intoxicating substances, or while impaired by its after effects,” the new Air Force guidance stated.

“This instruction prescribes operations procedures for cyberspace weapons systems under most circumstances, but it is not a substitute for sound judgment or common sense,” the Air Force said.

The document discusses the general conduct of Air Force cyber operations, including so-called “Real-Time Operations & Innovation” (RTOI) projects that enable the USAF “to generate tools and tactics in response to critical cyber needs at the fastest possible pace.”

See Cyberspace Operations and Procedures, Air Force Instruction 10-1703, volume 3, 5 May 2015.

With the growing normalization of defensive and (especially) offensive military operations in cyberspace, more and more U.S. military doctrine governing such activity is gradually being published on an unclassified basis. Some of the principal components of this emerging open literature include the following:

Cyberspace Operations, Joint Publication 3-12, 5 February 2013

Cyberspace Operations, Air Force Policy Directive 10-17, 31 July 2012

Command and Control for Cyberspace Operations, Air Force Instruction 10-1701, 5 March 2014

Legal Reviews of Weapons and Cyber Capabilities, Air Force Instruction 51-402, 27 July 2011

Information Assurance (IA) and Support to Computer Network Defense (CND), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 6510.01F, 9 February 2011

Department of Defense Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace, July 2011

The Department of Defense Cyber Strategy, April 2015