26 May 2010

CyberCom Officially Underway

The new command has officially launched.

Receiving a promotion to four-star general, Alexander on Friday was officially given the reins of U.S. Cyber Command by Defense Secretary Robert Gates during a ceremony in Fort Meade, Md. That signaled the initial launch of the division, which won't be up to full capability until October 1.

The mission of U.S. Cyber Command, or CyberCom, is to synchronize the Defense Department's various networks and cyberspace operations to better defend them against the onslaught of cyberattacks.

"Given our increasing dependency on cyberspace, this new command will bring together the resources of the department to address vulnerabilities and meet the ever-growing array of cyberthreats to our military systems," Gates said in a statement.

Last June, Gates approved the birth of Cyber Command as a unified, subdivision of U.S. Strategic Command to manage the Defense Department's resources of 15,000 computer networks across 4,000 military bases in 88 countries. The launching of U.S. CyberCom had been stalled, awaiting Senate confirmation of Alexander. But with Senate approval having been cleared on May 7, CyberCom is now free to open for business.

And the new commander is Gen. Keith Alexander.

"The purpose and jurisdiction of this command is clear: to defend the military's operational networks against attacks," Gates said Friday in prepared remarks. "Overcoming the wider cyber threat to America's economy and society will require a whole-of-government approach, with CYBERCOM in a supporting role. As such, Gen. Alexander will coordinate this command's efforts the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the NSA and other stakeholders."

Gates remarks were aimed, in part, to put at ease those who feel the military is becoming too influential over civilian aspects of IT security, especially considering that one individual oversees the military cyber defense as well as the NSA, the super-electronics spy agencies run by the Defense Department.

The Defense secretary praised Alexander's leadership in transforming the NSA from its Cold War posture to that of an organization capable of meeting diverse, unconventional and ever-changing threats. "Gen. Alexander has the experience, the expertise and the agility to lead CYBERCOM to success," Gates said. "And success in the coming years is critical. Our nation as a whole has become ever more dependent on computer systems and networks, and so has our military. The intelligence, logistics, weapons technologies and other capabilities we have gained are enormous, and critical to maintaining U.S. military supremacy."

By: Brant

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