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

Posted August 19, 2017

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).

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.

The new command will be the central point of contact for resources for the department's operations in the cyber domain and will serve to synchronize cyber forces under a single manager.

Currently, US Cyber Command is part of the US Strategic Command, and it is directed by the head of the National Security Agency (NSA), Navy Admiral Michael S. Rogers.

Still, McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said more steps were needed to meet the nation's cyber security challenges.

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Congressional notification began Friday morning and the White House is expected to make the announcement the same day that Trump gathers with his national security team to discuss South Asia strategy at the presidential retreat at Camp David.

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

This move was at one time also considered by the Obama administration and brings with it a renewed discussion of whether the command should be split from the NSA and aligned more closely with the military. Its new title will let CyberCom use computer networks for military purposes without having to get permission from the U.S. Strategic Command, which is responsible for nuclear weapons and missile defense.

The move was called for in the 2017 defense authorization bill.

This tension came to the fore when President Barack Obama previous year ordered Cyber Command to take more aggressive action against the Islamic State in cyberspace. The two organizations have sometimes competing objectives - for the NSA to collect intelligence, and for Cyber Command to achieve military objectives in cyberspace.