It’s a sign of the times. That’s what the latest move made this past week by the Trump administration indicates, as they elevated the US Cyber Command to a Unified Combatant Command. Originally, the Cyber Command was a subset of the National Security Agency (NSA). Now, with its new home in its own Combat Command, the US Cyber Command will be on the same level of importance as nine other combat commands, including the command centers for Africa and Europe. It’s a sign of the times. The threat of cyber security has grown to this level of importance. Most of the other cyber commands represent physical locations that need concentrated areas of defense. Now the entire cyber-universe has been added to that list. Cyber security has never been more important.
Because of this move, it is possible that the US Cyber Command will separate from the NSA altogether. This possibility will be investigated by Secretary of Defense James Mathis. According to a statement made by President Trump, “He will announce recommendations on this matter at a later date.”
Trump further explained the move, saying, “This new Unified Combatant Command will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation’s defense. The elevation of United States Cyber Command demonstrates our increased resolve against cyberspace threats and will help reassure our allies and partners and deter our adversaries.”
Trump also stressed that making this decision will help, “streamline command and control of time-sensitive cyberspace operations by consolidating them under a single commander with authorities commensurate with the importance of such operations.” Trump continues, “Elevation will also ensure that critical cyberspace operations are adequately funded.”
Trump wasn’t the first to hear proposals to create an independant Cyber Command. The Obama Administration also heard the same suggestions. Those in favor of the move claimed that the US Cyber Command needed to be separated from the NSA because at times action needed to be taken, even if contrary to the intelligence gathering done by the NSA. Those in favor of keeping the two groups connected by the same single leader argue that if they’re under the same leadership, important information won’t be withheld from them. That’s the structure that was in place, with Navy Admiral Michael Rogers at the helm of both organizations.
With the change in technology, warfare has changed as well. Cyber attacks are at the heart of that change. If a country can hack into a another rival countries system and steal classified information, that can do more damage than many bombs ever could. Ransomware attacks (stealing and holding companies data for a ransom) have also been on the rise, particularly against major healthcare organizations. With the invention of the world wide web, the US now has gaping holes that are vulnerable to cyber attacks, and governments can never be too secure when it comes to cyber security. This elevation of the US Cyber Command to the level of a Unified Combat Command will help protect the country from threats to come in the future.