Preparations to officially establish the U.S. Cyber Command are underway, according to a senior U.S. military official. Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said in a written statement submitted to the House Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on strategic forces, that the unit was awaiting Congressional approval on U.S. Cyber Command’s commander.
Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, currently the head of the National Security Agency, has been nominated to head Cyber Command, which will likely be located at Fort Meade, MD. If approved by Congress, Alexander will head both NSA and CYBERCOM and will be promoted to General.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Congress and our agency partners as we move forward to establish U.S. CYBERCOM,“ Chilton said.
Back in June, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates approved the establishment of CYBERCOM which will have responsiblity for defending DoD networks.
“This segregation detracts from natural synergies and ignores our experience in organizing to operate in the air, land, sea, and space domains,“ Chilton said. “The establishment of U.S. CYBERCOM will remedy this problem in the cyber domain.“
According to James N. Miller, principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy, the DoD presently operates 15,000 networks at 4,000 duty stations in 88 different countries.
“Modern armed forces simply cannot conduct high-tempo, effective operations without resilient, reliable information and communication networks and assured access to cyberspace,“ Miller said.
Chilton discussed the need to stand up CYBERCOM as quickly as practicable, citing a “serious intrusion” in DoD networks sometime last year. He also discussed the need to maintain and expand U.S. operational freedom of action in cyberspace.
“When people first took to the skies, some wondered why we would ever need to fly,“ he said. “But no one today can imagine life without air travel or national security without air forces “¦. Just as the U.S. mastered the air domain, we will continue to strive to preserve our freedom of action in cyberspace.“