Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Department of Defense (DoD) is beefing up its 900-man Cyber Command with 4,000 new military and civilian personnel to protect the country’s computer network and attack those of foreign adversaries.
The expansion mulled last fall in light of the hacking of 30,000 computers at a Saudi Arabian state oil company last summer has just been approved, officials who requested anonymity told Washington Post on Monday.
The additional personnel will form three cyber forces in the command, according to the officials. A “national mission force” will protect the country’s computer infrastructure, a “combat mission force” will conduct cyber attacks and a “cyber protection force” will fortify the DoD’s servers.
The combat force will be tasked to disable an enemy’s command-and-control system before a conventional attack is launched by the U.S. military on enemy targets. It will be subdivided into teams focused on a specific country like China and Iran.
Commenting on the plan, former Pentagon cyber security strategist William J. Lynn III said the Cyber Command expansion plan is necessary to counter looming cyber attacks on the U.S.
However, the challenge in implementing the plan is on finding and training many qualified cybersecurity personnel and closely aligning the Cyber Command with the National Security Agency, the country’s electronic spying agency employing some of the nation’s top cyber-operations specialists.