US President Barack Obama’s administration is planning to reinforce the Pentagon’s Cyber Command in order to repel cyber attacks and punish intruders of American computer networks, a new report shows.
Under the new plan, the US military’s Cyber Command will turn into a “unified command” which would be equal to combat branches of the military such as the Central and Pacific Commands, providing the Pentagon with more powerful cyber weapons, Reuters reported Friday, citing current and former officials.
The new plan would also see the Cyber Command separated from the National Security Agency (NSA), a spy agency notorious for eavesdropping on millions of people inside and outside the US, the officials noted.
Currently, Navy Admiral Michael S. Rogers leads both organizations, which are located at Fort Meade, Maryland, about 30 miles north of Washington.
A senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that Washington was “constantly reviewing if we have the appropriate organizational structures in place to counter evolving threats, in cyber space or elsewhere.”
Over the past months, the US military’s six-year-old Cyber Command has been mounting cyber attacks against the Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri group, targeting online networks that the terror group uses for recruitment and propaganda purposes.
“We are dropping cyberbombs. We have never done that before,” Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said in April.
According to a July report by the Washington Post, Cyber Command’s slow-paced fight against Daesh had frustrated Pentagon officials.
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced in April that Washington was going to boost the fight by spending up to $35 billion over the next five years.
“Adapting to new functions will include changes in how we manage ourselves in cyberspace,” Carter said at the time.
Last month, Obama warned about the “not perfect” cybersecurity in the government, saying more has to be done.
“We know that we have had hackers in the White House,” the president said.