Trump announces he's elevating the role of US Cyber Command

Cyber Command is getting a long-planned elevation in status to full combatant command in a move that puts Cybercom alongside the US military's other unified and functional commands, our sister publication FCW reports.

"This new Unified Combatant Command will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation's defense", said Trump.

"Elevation will also ensure that critical cyberspace operations are adequately funded", said Trump.

Previously, Cyber Command was subordinate to Strategic Command, which oversees, among other things, the American nuclear arsenal.

Eight years after the creation of Cyber Command, its relationship with the NSA has come under strain. "I also direct the Secretary of Defense to recommend an officer for my nomination and Senate confirmation as commander in order to establish U.S. Cyber Command as a Unified Combatant Command".

"While we welcome this elevation, there is much more to be done to prepare our nation and our military to meet our cybersecurity challenges".

He called the elevation a "natural, next step" that would raise the stature of the command, saying the move "reflects the growing centrality of cyberspace to U.S. national security".

Trump said he's directed Defense Secretary James Mattis to decide whether to split the unit, known as Cybercom, from the NSA.

President Donald Trump on Friday also tasked Mattis with determining whether Cybercom could safely be detached from its command structure under the dual-hatted commander of the NSA.

The National Security Agency collects signals intelligence and is also tasked with the protection of United States communications networks and information systems.

The move was called for in the 2017 defense authorization bill. It will establish a cyber version of the nuclear doctrine of "mutual assured destruction" between the United States and the former Soviet Union, the three USA officials said.

President Barack Obama endorsed splitting the agencies before he left office. The two organizations have sometimes competing objectives - for the NSA to collect intelligence, and for Cyber Command to achieve military objectives in cyberspace. "We had them both in the same location and able to work with one another".

  • Jack Mann