USA — New Cyber Chief: Cyberspace Must Become a National Security Priority

The direc­tor the U.S. Cyber Com­mand recent­ly spoke about the role of the new agency, which was acti­vat­ed May 21, 2010.

US Army General Keith B. Alexander is head of U.S. Cyber Command
US Army Gen­er­al Kei­th B. Alexan­der is head of U.S. Cyber Com­mand.
Pho­to: US Army

“Last June, the sec­re­tary of defense direct­ed the standup of U.S. Cyber Com­mand to stream­line the com­mand and con­trol of our military’s cyber-capa­bil­i­ties,” said Army Gen. Kei­th B. Alexan­der, head of U.S. Cyber Com­mand, dur­ing a dis­cus­sion at the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies in Wash­ing­ton. “Since that time, we have been lean­ing for­ward and build­ing an orga­ni­za­tion and a mis­sion align­ment that is more inte­grat­ed, syn­chro­nized and effec­tive in the sup­port of our sol­diers, sailors, air­men, Marines, Coast Guards­men and civil­ians.” The com­mand will lead the day-to-day defense of all mil­i­tary net­works, sup­port mil­i­tary and coun­tert­er­ror­ism mis­sions and, under the lead­er­ship of the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty, assist oth­er gov­ern­ment and civ­il author­i­ties and indus­try part­ners. Alexan­der, who is also the direc­tor of the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA) and chief of the Cen­tral Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice, said that pro­tect­ing cyber­space is a nation­al secu­ri­ty pri­or­i­ty and that the NSA and U.S. Cyber Com­mand will rep­re­sent the inter­sec­tion of mil­i­tary, intel­li­gence and infor­ma­tion-assur­ance capa­bil­i­ties. Recent­ly, a Cyber Joint Oper­a­tions Cen­ter was estab­lished to com­bine the exist­ing staffs of the Joint Func­tion­al Com­po­nent Com­mand for Net War­fare and the Joint Task­force Glob­al Net­work Oper­a­tions. U.S. Cyber Com­mand also gained ser­vice ele­ments that will act as the boots on the ground in sup­port of its mis­sion. These include the Army Forces Cyber Com­mand, the Marine Forces Cyber Com­mand, the 24th Air Force and the Navy’s 10th Fleet, Fleet Cyber Com­mand. Alexan­der said that the U.S. mil­i­tary is respon­si­ble for pro­tect­ing more than 7 mil­lion machines, linked through 15,000 net­works with 21 satel­lite gate­ways and 20,000 com­mer­cial cir­cuits com­posed of count­less devices and com­po­nents. “America’s very wealth and strength make it a tar­get in cyber­space. And one of the pil­lars of that strength, our mil­i­tary, is at risk, per­haps to an even greater degree,” he said. Nation­al and mil­i­tary infor­ma­tion infra­struc­tures are heav­i­ly inter­twined and as a result, Defense Depart­ment (DoD) sys­tems are probed by unau­tho­rized users 250,000 times an hour, over 6 mil­lion times a day. “The DoD must be able to oper­ate freely and defend its resources in cyber­space,” he said. “So the job of the U.S. Cyber Com­mand is to assure that the right infor­ma­tion gets to the right user at the right time at the right lev­el of pro­tec­tion.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)