By J. Nicholas Hoover
October 20, 2009
President Obama has, as expected, nominated National Security Agency
director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander to be promoted to the rank of general
and assigned as commander of the new United States Cyber Command.
The Cyber Command, announced this summer, will be in charge of
cyberwarfare and the security of military networks. It will be based in
Ft. Meade, Md., where the National Security Agency is also
headquartered, and will be part of the U.S. Strategic Command.
Defense secretary Robert Gates urged Alexander's appointment in a June
memo, when he formally created Cyber Command. A month earlier, Alexander
said in testimony before the House Armed Services committee that it was
vital for the military to combine some of its existing cybersecurity
efforts. "The way we're approaching [cybersecurity] today does not
work," he said. "We can put the defense and the offense together for the
good of the department. The rapid expansion and global dependence upon
cyberspace require[s] the Defense Department to evolve its warfighting
doctrine to include cyberspace as a viable domain on par with the
domains of the land, sea, air and space."
In anticipation of the possible creation of a broad military
cybersecurity effort, Alexander this spring became acting director of
the Joint Task Force -- Global Network Operations (JTF-GNO), which heads
up the operation and cybersecurity of Department of Defense networks.
JTF-GNO will dissolve next year, and its operations roles will revert to
the Defense Information Systems Agency.
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