Over the course of the last year I have covered a number of articles outlining how Governments and Government organizations across the globe have been modernizing their strategic commands in our digital age. More specifically, how countries like Germany and Russia, and organizations like NATO have all recently established new branches of their military designated solely for cyber Warfare.
For example, earlier this year on July 5th 2017, The Daily Proletariat reported how NATO leadership warned for the first time that cyber attacks of the future could one day result in the invocation of Article 5 of The North Atlantic Treaty, implying that War could one day result from an act of cyber espionage. The announcement came nearly 13 months to the day after member states of the NATO alliance formally declared cyber space as a new jurisdiction of War, joining more traditional venues such as land, air, sea and space. Now, for the first time, it appears as though the United States has also chosen to follow suit.
I have directed that U.S. Cyber Command be elevated to the status of a Unified Combatant Command focused on….cont: https://t.co/3iScfuMw9s
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2017
In statements made available on WhiteHouse.gov, President Donald Trump announced how he has decided to direct “that United States Cyber Command be elevated to the status of a Unified Combatant Command focused on cyberspace operations.” Explaining how “This new Unified Combatant Command will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation’s defense,” and that “The elevation of United States Cyber Command demonstrates our increased resolve against cyberspace threats and will help reassure our allies and partners and deter our adversaries.”
Trump also went on to add that the “United States Cyber Command’s elevation will also help streamline command and control of time-sensitive cyberspace operations by consolidating them under a single commander with authorities commensurate with the importance of such operations. Elevation will also ensure that critical cyberspace operations are adequately funded.” Trump also said that he would be exploring the possibility of separating US Cyber Command from the National Security Agency entirely, essentially making the agency its own independent division of the Government. However, this decision will be made under the direction of James Mattis at a later date.
According to a press release from the United States Department of Defense, “Cybercom already has been performing many responsibilities of a unified combatant command. The elevation also raises the stature of the commander of Cyber Command to a peer level with the other unified combatant command commanders, allowing the Cybercom commander to report directly to the secretary of defense.” As pointed out by Kenneth Rapuano, the assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security, Cybercom’s elevation from its previous sub-unified command status is reflective of the ever changing nature of Warfare in our modern age and the United States needs to adapt to it. By elevating cyber commands position within the US military structure, it will allow the agency to respond to future threats in a more effective and efficient manner.
Putting all of these statements into laymen’s terms, US Cyber Command will now be thought of as the countries newest military organization and will begin operating as such. Despite the fact that the United States is not the first country in the world to make such a move over recent years, it still marks a significant moment in US military history.