The Gov is finalizing plans to revamp the nation’s military command for defensive and offensive cyber operations in hopes of intensifying America’s ability to wage cyberwar against the Islamic State group and other foes. Here is what is needed and what it will look like.
U.S. Cyber Command as a war-fighting organization will require different tools than the National Security Agency, which serves as an intelligence organization. Cyber Command’s tools would be meant to be attributed to the Pentagon in a war scenario; obfuscating attribution won’t be a necessary endeavor.
“The tools are different. Tools designed to reside and extract information might be different than tools designed to delay, degrade, disrupt and all that,” Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA, told C4ISRNET in a recent interview. Hayden also commanded the first military and offensive cyber-oriented organization — Joint Functional Component Command-Network Warfare, CYBERCOM’s direct predecessor.
Hayden said the purpose of a powerful overlap in tools for both the NSA and CYBERCOM lies in network penetration. “If you separate them, would you then force Cyber Command to develop its own penetration to foreign networks? Which does suggest a deconfliction problem, but I don’t think an unmanageable deconfliction problem,” he offered, highlighting what he characterized as one argument — though not compelling, in his opinion — against an NSA-CYBERCOM split.
PART I: What is needed to split NSA and Cyber Command?
PART II: Here’s what Cyber Command’s war-fighting platform will look like
PART IV: Cyber Command leverages acquisition model of special operations group