Report: White House considers elevating status of Cyber Command

The military branch, responsible for offensive and defensive cyber activities, would be separated from the NSA under the reported plan.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

The Obama administration is considering a plan to elevate the status of US Cyber Command, Reuters reports, a move that would separate the military branch from the National Security Agency (NSA).

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

Under the reported plan, the US Cyber Command would be on par with the military's other combat branches, such as the US Pacific Command and US Central Command.

Elevating Cyber Command would serve as an acknowledgement of the growing relevance of cyber warfare. It would also acknowledge that Cyber Command's mission to conduct offensive and defensive cyber activities is distinct from the NSA's electronic intelligence-gathering mission.

A report from the US Government Accountability Office published earlier this year criticized the Pentagon for its unclear chain of command in the event of a cyber attack.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon earlier this year acknowledged it's been ramping up its cyber offensive against the Islamic State. However, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said recently that its "cyber bombs" against ISIS weren't working as well as they had hoped for.

President Obama recently released a policy directive explaining which civilian government agencies would take the lead in the event of a cyber attack, but it did not discuss how the military would respond.

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