By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
September 23, 2010
They were Air Force fighter pilots, Army rangers and Marine tank
commanders. There was even a Navy fighter jet radar officer who had been
taken prisoner during the Persian Gulf War.
But in 1998 they fought in a different realm - their weapons bits and
bytes, their foxholes temperature-controlled computer operations rooms.
In the new battleground of cyberspace, they battled shadowy foes whose
computer attacks were given names like Moonlight Maze and Titan Rain.
These were the men and women of the Joint Task Force Computer Network
Defense, 24 tech-savvy war fighters who were part of the pioneering
group tasked with protecting the Pentagon's computer networks - vital
for everything from directing troop movements to passing intelligence to
issuing commands to fire missiles.
To the surprise and approval of the group's first leaders, the task
force has not only endured, it has evolved into what is today the U.S.
Cyber Command, arguably the world's most potent computer network
The recently launched Cyber Command is much larger, with about 1,000
personnel, and with authority not only to defend, but to attack
adversaries. It will leverage the abilities of the National Security
Agency to penetrate foreign networks and spy on targets.
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