Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cyber Command Incubates at Barksdale

The crowd at the local U.S. Air Forces 60th birthday party Wednesday celebrated five days early at Horseshoe Casinos Riverdome – was buzzing after Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne (at right) mentioned Barksdale Air Force Base would house the “provisional” and interim Cyber Command (audio).

Air Force brass explained that the words “interim” and “provisional” are necessary because the Defense Department has yet to review many details before all the pieces can be put in place. From doing requisite things akin to soil samples to reviewing the full investment of personnel, the “interim” designation sets the command to materialize at Barksdale.

People leaving the party, including businessman Tem McElroy and Bossier Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lisa Johnson, all were talking about how excited they were to hear the surprise announcement from Secretary Wynne. While the word “interim” might have taken an edge off, it was U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu who gave it back.

It seems Landrieu knew something was up as the mention of the designation came together.

"It took a combination of extraordinary coordination and effort on the part of many local officials and the congressional delegation," she told Times reporter Margaret Martin. Landrieu praised Lt. Gen. Robert J. Elder’s vision and shared, "All the stars were aligned."

The civilian and military audience rejoiced in the afterglow of the surprise announcement about the command taking shape here (photo gallery). "Provisional" home designation is the nod we needed.

Gen. Elder clearly was a hero for many Wednesday night, heralded for his leadership in putting Barksdale in the catbird seat for this military mission. When all is said and done, Cyber Command's birthplace is tasked with being the incubator for the formative years.

Our community has plans to build on that dream.

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