29 July 2016

Should CYBERCOM be a combatant command?

Kevin Coleman, Independent Software3
July 26, 2016
In 2010 U.S. Strategic Command members — from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard — combined to form U.S. Cyber Command, a subordinate operational unit.

Think about what was happening back in 2010 and 2011. In 2010 multiple articles were published about a massive cyberattack that struck tech icon Google and other U.S. companies. Many associated the attack with a suspected Chinese government operation that used human intelligence techniques and high technology to steal corporate secrets. That was one of many cyber incidents that year.

Then in 2011, cyber espionage and sabotage were at the top of our list of cyber concerns. Those concerns were intensified as a wave of Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) struck companies, international agencies and governments all over the world.

With all that has happened since 2010, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry, R- Texas, has raised an important question: “Isn’t it time for CYBERCOM to stand on its own as a combatant command?” As a combatant command, CYBERCOM will be the Unified Command Plan that establishes the missions and geographic responsibilities among the combatant commanders.

Few important decisions are ever clear cut. There a many pros and cons to strategic decisions such as this. One thing is for sure: The right decision is the one that allows CYBERCOM the greatest flexibility and minimizes the time to make decisions and respond. Their mission and criticality will only continue to increase.

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