Gates Creates Cyber-Defense Command

Gates Creates Cyber-Defense Command
Gates Creates Cyber-Defense Command 

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
June 24, 2009

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates issued an order yesterday establishing 
a command that will defend military networks against computer attacks 
and develop offensive cyber-weapons, but he also directed that the 
structure be ready to help safeguard civilian systems.

In a memo to senior military leaders, Gates said he will recommend that 
President Obama designate that the new command be led by the director of 
the National Security Agency, the world's largest electronic 
intelligence-gathering agency. The current NSA director, Lt. Gen. Keith 
B. Alexander, is expected to be awarded a fourth star and to lead the 

Gates or his deputy had been expected to announce the command in a 
speech a week ago. Analysts said making the announcement by memo is in 
keeping with the Pentagon's effort to tamp down concerns that the 
Defense Department and the NSA will dominate efforts to protect the 
nation's computer networks.

"Is it going to be the dominant player by default because the Department 
of Homeland Security is weak and this new unit will be strong?" said 
James A. Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and 
International Studies. "That's a legitimate question, and I think DoD 
will resist having that happen. But there are issues of authorities that 
haven't been cleared up. What authorities does DoD have to do things 
outside the dot-mil space?"


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