Cybercom Commander: Other
Nations’ Cyberspace Ops Intensified
By Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DoD
News) — March 18, 2016 — U.S. Cyber Command has witnessed intensified
cyberspace operations by state and nonstate actors and wide-ranging malicious
cyber activities targeting the government and the private sector in the past
year, Cybercom commander Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers told a House panel March
Rogers, who is also the National Security Agency director and
Central Security Service chief, testified on Cybercom’s segment of the fiscal
year 2017 Defense Department budget request before the House Armed Services
Committee’s emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee. He highlighted
Cybercom’s challenges and initiatives in the past year.
“At this time, nations still present the greatest or gravest
threats to our nation's cybersecurity, because they alone can commit the
significant resources to sustain sophisticated campaigns to penetrate in our
best-guarded networks,” the admiral said.
Watching for Nonstate ‘Signs’
Cybercom continues to look for signs that nations such as
Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea and nonstate actors such as the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant are developing “significant improvements” in their
cyber capabilities, Rogers said. “They steal intellectual property, citizens'
personal information, and they have intruded into networks ranging from the
Joint Staff's unclassified network to networks controlling our nation's critical
infrastructure,” the admiral said.
U.S. adversaries use cyberspace to shape potential operations
to try to limit U.S. options in a crisis, he said, adding that Cybercom is
progressing in building its cyber mission force of 133 teams.
Even those teams are not yet operational, they are conducting
cyber operations to support U.S. Central Command in degrading, dismantling and
ultimately defeating ISIL, Rogers noted.
The Joint Force Headquarters DoD Information Networks stood
up last year has already made “great strides” in its goal to lead day-to-day
security and defense of the department's data and networks, he said.
More Confidence in DoD Systems
And while DoD expands the joint information environment,
Rogers said, there is much more confidence in DoD’s overall systems’ security
“Our operations to defend DoD networks and the nation's
critical infrastructure proceed in conjunction with a host of federal, industry
and international partners,” he pointed out. Cyber mission forces continue to
operate safely and in a way that respects Americans’ civil liberties and
privacies, Rogers said.
Cyber Exercises Are Unmatched
Cybercom's annual exercises, Cyber Flag and Cyber Guard,
offer “unmatched realism as we train with federal, state, industry and
international partners,” Rogers told the panel. “And while our training is
improving, we need a persistent training environment which the department is
continuing to develop to gain necessary operational skills and to sustain
readiness across the force.”
Cybercom is contributing to the new DoD cyber strategy, the
commander said, adding that the command’s many responsibilities have allowed it
to benefit from the authorities it was granted under the fiscal year 2016
National Defense Authorization Act, he said. “[It] represents a significant
augmentation of our ability to provide capabilities to our cyber mission teams,
as well as our ability to attract and retain a skilled cyber workforce,” Rogers
And despite the challenging cyber environment in which the
United States operates, Cybercom continues to make significant progress while it
conducts cyber operations against determined adversaries, he said.
“The command has a clear path ahead and is actively pursuing
new initiatives and authorities to best position the command to address the
challenges and opportunities that we will undoubtedly confront,” Rogers said.
(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)
Related Biographies :
Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers
Related Links :
U.S. Cyber Command
Special Report: Department of Defense Cyber Strategy