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Pentagon signs off on Cyber Command
Published: 2009-06-24

The U.S. Secretary of Defense ordered the military to create a unified command to act as the nation's central hub for cyber capabilities and commanded the Pentagon to develop a policy framework for cyberspace operations.

The director of the National Security Agency will lead the new organization, dubbed the U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOMM), stated Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in a memo released on Tuesday. A new deputy commander position will also be created and will be filled with a military officer with the rank of Lieutenant General or Vice Admiral. The joint military groups responsible for network operations, defense and attack — the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations (JTF-GNO) and the Joint Functional Component Command-Network Warfare (JFCC-NW) — will be incorporated into the new command, the memo stated.

"Our increasing dependency on cyberspace, alongside a growing array of cyber threats and vulnerabilities, adds a new element of risk to our national security," Gates wrote in the memo. "To address this risk effectively and to secure freedom of action in cyberspace, the Department of Defense requires a command that possesses the required technical capability and remains focused on the integration of cyberspace operations."

The U.S. announced it would create a cyber command earlier this year, after putting the Air Force's plans for such a group on hold last August. In May, top military officials argued for a single joint command and told the media that a cyber attack could merit a more conventional, kinetic, response. Last month, the Obama administration released a cybersecurity review that called for the creation of a White House office that would help create the nation's cyber policy.

The U.S. Cyber Command will be established by this October and be fully operational by October 2010. It will be likely headquartered with the NSA in Fort Meade, Maryland.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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