Pentagon to Create New Cyber-Command: Turf War With NSA Looming

May 29, 2009

(ChattahBox) On the heels of President Obama’s announcement on Friday of the creation of a civilian White House Cyber Czar, to protect the nation’s digital infrastructure, the Pentagon is set to announce the formation of a Cyber-Command to both defend against cyber attacks and wage cyber warfare against our enemies.

The announcements of both the new military Cyber Command and the White House cyber security office were delayed while various security agencies lobbied for control in a series of bureaucratic turf wars, between the NSA, Homeland Security, The Pentagon and the extensive cyber security department within the Air Force.

The NSA for now has emerged from the bloody turf wars as the victor in both the White House office and the Pentagon’s new Cyber Command. The White House Cyber Czar will report to the NSA, as well as the National Economic Council.

The billions of dollars allocated for the creation of the new cyber security initiative has raised the stakes for a battle to win bureaucratic control over the cyber security efforts. The Homeland Security agency seems to have lost out for now in taking a lead role on domestic cyber security efforts.

There is no question the development of a comprehensive cyber security effort is needed. Sophisticated cyber-criminals have been caught attacking the U.S. electric grid and military defense programs. Just recently, hackers breached the Pentagon’s Joint Strike Fighter program, and stole data.

The Pentagon Cyber Command, according to a memo by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, will reside within the Pentagon’s Strategic Command, which is already tasked with computer-network security efforts. Eventually, the Cyber Command is expected to be allocated a separate command to be added to the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command, Central Command and Strategic Command.

And in a move that signals a joint effort by the NSA and the Pentagon to run the new Cyber Command, Secretary Gates planes to appoint National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander to head the new Cyber Command, which will be headquartered in Fort Meade, Maryland adjacent to NSA headquarters.

The charge of the new Cyber Command would be to conduct military cyber security operations, both defensive and offensive and provide support to civilian authorities.

Critics of the plan are concerned with the NSA’s propensity to conduct domestic spying operations. In a recent speech given by General Alexander, he proposed a “team” effort with the NSA charged with protecting military and intelligence networks, leaving “other government networks” to the Department of Homeland Security.

In addition to the massive cyber security defensive effort, the Cyber Command would also engage in cyber warfare. Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, likened cyber warfare to any traditional battlefield, which requires “protecting our freedom of movement and preserving our capability to perform in that environment.”

As the new Cyber Command functions shake out, there is still the ongoing battle between what agency would actually conduct the offensive cyber warfare operations.

Meanwhile, President Obama is expected to issue a classified set of presidential directives on the relative responsibilities of various military agencies in the Cyber Command

Obama also plans to sign a classified executive order creating the new military Cyber Command, which would be in full operation sometime in October.



3 Responses to “Pentagon to Create New Cyber-Command: Turf War With NSA Looming”

  1. How much “cybersecurity” will we achieve? : The Sirens Chronicles on June 2nd, 2009 4:05 am

    […] settle any remaining turf battles. Much remains to be seen as the military arm of cybersecurity is more fully revealed. And finally, President Obama has reaffirmed his support for net […]

  2. bradford on December 8th, 2009 2:38 pm

    I think someone spelled National wrong. Can this image be fixed? National has two A’s and only one O.

  3. TRUE on February 20th, 2010 3:48 pm

    perhaps someone is suggesting that “nsa” stands for “notional” security agency because they feel the agency is “given to or full of foolish or fanciful ideas or moods”?

Got something to say? **Please Note** - Comments may be edited for clarity or obscenity, and all comments are published at the discretion of - Comments are the opinions of the individuals leaving them, and not of or its partners. - Please do not spam or submit comments that use copyright materials, hearsay or are based on reports where the supposed fact or quote is not a matter of public knowledge are also not permitted.