USA amps up Cyber Command to combat cyberspace threats

Trump elevates US Cyber Command to independent status

Trump elevates US Cyber Command to independent status

U.S. Cyber Command will be elevated to a full combatant command and might split from the National Security Agency to streamline the military's cyberspace operations, the White House announced Friday.

The announcement means USA cyber command may eventually be split off from the intelligence-focused National Security Agency (NSA).

The new command will be the central point of contact for resources for the department's operations in the cyber domain and will serve to synchronize cyber forces under a single manager.

Making an independent cyber command will put the fight in digital space on the same footing as the more traditional realms of land, air and sea.

Trump said the move was a sign of the country's "increased resolve" to combat cyber threats, including to USA allies, and a way to "streamline command and control of time-sensitive cyberspace operations by consolidating them under a single commander with authorities commensurate with the importance of such operations" and insure those operations get enough funds. The president has directed Mattis to recommend a commander for U.S. Cyber Command, and Rogers for now remains in the dual-hatted role, Rapuano said.

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Still, McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said more steps were needed to meet the nation's cyber security challenges.

The National Security Agency collects signals intelligence and is also tasked with the protection of United States communications networks and information systems.

The elevation defers on the question of the dual-hat arrangement between CyberComand the National Security Agency, both of which are led by Rogers. By co-locating Cyber Command with NSA, policymakers hoped that military hackers could learn from their NSA counterparts in standing up a new unit.

President Barack Obama endorsed splitting the agencies before he left office. The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act requires that the secretary of defense and joint chiefs of staff certify that such a split would not undermine American capabilities in cyberspace. The two organizations have sometimes competing objectives - for the NSA to collect intelligence, and for Cyber Command to achieve military objectives in cyberspace.

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