President Donald Trump is expected to announce Friday that he is elevating U.S. Cyber Command to a full combatant command, showing just how critical cyber operations have become to the American military. For example, there is a Special Ops Command and Strategic Command.
Current and former officials said a leading candidate to head U.S. Cyber Command was Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville, now director of the Pentagon's Joint Staff. Trump also said the defence secretary was also considering separating the U.S. Cyber Command from the National Security Agency (NSA).
Under the directive, the U.S. Cyber Command, which now comes under the Strategic Command, will join the ranks of unified combatant commands that oversee military operations in the Pacific, the Middle East and elsewhere.
Cybercom's elevation from its previous subunified command status demonstrates the growing centrality of cyberspace to US national security, Rapuano said, adding that the move signals the USA resolve to "embrace the changing nature of warfare and maintain US military superiority across all domains and phases of conflict". The decision by Trump signals a recognition of the increasing importance of cyberspace operations to the American military.
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The shift means U.S. Cyber Command will split off from the intelligence-focused National Security Agency and focus on developing offensive and defensive cyberweapons to use during war and on stopping cyberintrusions.
Welcoming the announcement, Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that there is much more to be done to prepare the country and the military to meet cybersecurity challenges. "We must develop a clear policy and strategy for deterring and responding to cyber threats", he said in a statement.
Trump also said that Defence Secretary James Mattis will study whether Cyber Command should split from the NSA altogether. "We must also develop an integrated, whole-of-government approach to protect and defend the United States from cyberattacks", he said in a statement.