Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III called the stand-up of U.S. Cyber Command a milestone in the ability of the United States to conduct operations in cyberspace. During the ceremony on Friday, Gen. Alexander received his fourth star, now that he has been confirmed as the head of CYBERCOM.
CYBERCOM is the latest in the growing effort by the United States to better secure its networks, Lynn said. It is a sub-Combatant Command of Strategic Command and is responsible for cybersecurity across Department of Defense networks.
“We want to be able to maintain those advantages and protect the military missions, and that is the main mission of Cyber Command ““ it is to protect the military networks,“ Lynn said. “It will have a role, though, in protecting the government's networks and critical infrastructure.“
The new command takes the current capabilities and centralizes them, according to Lynn.
“It will be the place where the Department of Homeland Security will come to on cybersecurity matters,“ he said. “And it will help rationalize the interagency process.“
The government is still working to see how the United States might respond in the event of a major cyber attack and what role the military might play in helping to defend U.S. networks in the event of such an attack.
“We're in the midst of a series of meetings the White House is leading to work through a lot of those legal issues,“ Lynn said. “We've made progress organizationally, industrially and internationally, but the legal regime in particular is an area we need to tackle further.“
“Our ability to predict where the threats are coming [from], even in conventional threats, is remarkably poor,“ he added. “We didn't see Desert Storm coming. We didn't see the series of events that led to Afghanistan. Foreseeing the threats in cyberspace is harder. With Cyber Command, I think we need to be prepared for the unexpected.“