The command will increase from 900 to 4,900 civilian and military forces over the next few years as it plans to upgrade its organization into an Internet-era fighting force focused on foreign adversaries attacking critical systems.
“Given the malicious actors that are out there and the development of the technology, in my mind, there’s little doubt that some adversary is going to attempt a significant cyberattack on the United States at some point,” said William J. Lynn III, a former deputy defense secretary who helped fashion the Pentagon’s cybersecurity strategy.
“The only question is whether we’re going to take the necessary steps like this one to deflect the impact of the attack in advance or . . . read about the steps we should have taken in some post-attack commission report.”
Under the current plan, three forces will be created under Cyber Command: national mission forces, combat mission forces, and cyber mission forces.
The “national mission forces” are meant to protect computer systems that support electrical grids, power plants and other critical infrastructure.
The “combat mission forces” are supposed help overseas commanders plan and execute attacks or other offensive operations and “cyber protection forces” will be utilized to fortify the Defense Department’s networks.
However, the expansion raises questions including where to find qualified cybersecurity personnel and how closely the Command should be aligned with the National Security Agency.