President Trump has directed that the US Cyber Command (CYBERCOM), the Pentagon’s offensive cyber-force, will become its own unified military command in a move that is meant to strengthen cyberspace operations and bolster US defenses, according to The Washington Post.
"This new Unified Combatant Command will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation’s defense. The elevation of United States Cyber Command demonstrates our increased resolve against cyberspace threats and will help reassure our allies and partners and deter our adversaries," Trump said in a statement Friday.
CYBERCOM was formed in 2009 by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, from two smaller organizations subordinate to Strategic Command. Since its beginning, it has been led by the director of the NSA, currently Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers.
Trump’s move puts the Cyber Command on par with nine other combat commands and may lead to its separation from the National Security Agency (NSA). "In connection with this elevation," the statement reads, "the Secretary of Defense is examining the possibility of separating United States Cyber Command from the National Security Agency. He will announce recommendations on this matter at a later date."
Cyber Command works to unify oversight of the military’s digital offensive and defensive operations and cybersecurity resources, according to Wired. It also coordinates and leads military network defense. Since the tools and strategies that enable digital intelligence-gathering are similar in many ways to those required for cyberwarfare, the NSA made for a natural first home for Cyber Command. However, as the division has grown bigger and its role became more pivotal, it has become clear that Cyber Command would eventually level up.