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US reportedly elevates the role of Cyber Command

The cyberwarfare division would be just as important as a major regional military command.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
August 6, 2016
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Reuters/Rick Wilking

Now that the US treats cyberwarfare as a staple of its combat operations, it's ready to raise the prominence of its internet warriors. Reuters sources say that the Obama administration is planning to elevate Cyber Command, turning it into a "unified command" that's just as crucial as a major regional section like Pacific Command. The proposed shuffle would also detach Cyber Command from the NSA, giving it more input on the use of online weapons and defenses.

There's no guarantee that the reorganization will go through as it exists right now. Neither Cyber Command nor the NSA are commenting, and an unnamed official tells Reuters that the link between Cyber Command and the NSA is "critical to national security." If the report is accurate, though, the reform isn't likely to face significant opposition.

A switch-up like this might be necessary. Military leaders are reportedly annoyed at the sluggish pace of Cyber Command's campaign against ISIS, and have already created a task force that partners with Central Command to improve its performance. A more powerful Cyber Command might get better resources and would have greater independence. As it is, the shift would be an acknowledgment that online warfare is no longer a side project -- it can be crucial to winning a conflict.

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