U.S. Cyber Command Chief
Testifies on Challenges, Security Initiatives
By Cheryl Pellerin, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DoD
News) — April 5, 2016 — Over the past year U.S. Cyber Command has continued
building capability and capacity and made progress in building its 133-team
cyber mission force, all while operating at an increased tempo, Navy Adm.
Michael S. Rogers told a Senate panel today.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the
Cybercom commander said the cyber mission force -- made up of 13 national
mission teams, 68 cyber protection teams, 27 combat mission teams and 25 support
teams -- will be built and fully operational by Sept. 30, 2018. “Today, we have
27 teams that are fully operational and 68 that have attained initial
operational capability,” Rogers said.
Adm. Michael S. Rogers presents
a challenge coin to Defense Secretary Ash Carter
Over the past year Rogers said Cybercom has seen an increase
in cyberspace operations by state and non-state actors and a wide range of
malicious cyber activities aimed against government and private sector targets.
“At U.S. Cyber Command, we focus on actors that pose a threat
to our national interest through cyberspace,” he said, noting that nations still
represent the gravest threats to national security, but that Cybercom continues
to watch for signs of cyber capability improvements by non-state actors.
Malicious actors use cyberspace to steal intellectual
property and citizens' personal information and have intruded in DoD networks
ranging from the Joint Staff's unclassified network to networks controlling U.S.
critical infrastructure, the admiral said.
“These threat actors are using cyberspace, I believe, to
shape future operations with a view to limiting our options in the event of a
crisis,” Rogers said. “Despite this challenging environment, U.S. Cyber Command
continues to makes progress as it emphasizes shifts to operationalizing the
command and sustaining capabilities.”
Cybercom has also established a partnership program in
Silicon Valley “to link command personnel to some of the most innovative minds
working in cyberspace,” he told the panel.
The program is collocated with the department's Defense
Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx, the admiral said, an innovation outpost
designed to link technology companies with DoD needs for innovative products.
Full Unified Command
Since last fall, when the Senate Armed Services Committee
heard testimony from witnesses who recommended elevating Cyber Command to a full
unified command, discussion has continued among the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and
SASC member Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island democrat, said Defense Secretary Ash
Carter is considering the recommendation as part of the Goldwater-Nichols
Rogers told the panel that Cybercom would benefit from the designation. “What
tends to drive [whether an organization] should be elevated to a combatant
command broadly across the department,” he said, “[are] the imperatives of unity
of command and unity of effort and ... in this case … [whether] the function
rises to a global level and is it of sufficient priority to merit coordination
across the entire department?”
The other issue, Rogers said, is one of
“My input to the process has been that a combatant command
designation would allow us to be faster, which would generate better mission
outcomes,” he said.
“I would also argue that the department's processes of budget
prioritization, strategy and policy are all generally structured to enable
direct combatant commander input into those processes. That's what they're
optimized for. I believe that cyber needs to be a part of that direct process,”
the admiral noted.
In detailing Cybercom’s most urgent priorities, Rogers
included defending the DoD networks, continuing to provide options for
policymakers and integrating part of the cyber mission across the government.
“We clearly need a focus on ensuring, No. 1, that we've got our defensive house
in order and that we're able to defend our systems as well as our networks, and
we need to think beyond just networks into our individual combat weapons,” the
The second priority is to continue to generate the complete
spectrum of capabilities to provide options for policymakers and operational
commanders, he said, when cyber issues arise.
And lastly, Rogers added, “We've got to figure out how to
bridge across not just the DoD but the entire U.S. government and the private
sector about how we're going to look at this problem set [of responding to
critical cyber issues] in an integrated national way.
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Related Biographies :
Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers
Related Sites :
Special Report: DoD Cyber Strategy