The US Cyber Command conducted more than 20 operations during 2020 in an attempt to prevent meddling in the election and to prevent foreign adversaries from undermining the integrity of the vote, the head of the Command, Gen. Paul Nakasone, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. Nakasone did not name the adversaries.
According to military technology website C4ISRNET, defending the integrity of the elections has become an enduring mission for the American Defense Department, falling mostly on the Cyber Command. There are few details on the operations of the command, but it is known that it operates in a unique manner outside the borders of the US. Former President Trump, for example, confirmed that the Command shut down a Russian troll farm that spread fake information on the internet.
Nakasone shared with the committee three main lessons learned from the operations. First, the Cyber Command must be ready to act at any time, since threats can arise rapidly and opportunities can be fleeting. Second, the Cyber Command's partnership with the National Security Agency is the foundation to success (Nakasone is also the head of that agency). Third, it is important to work with domestic and foreign partners to share relevant and timely information.
According to an assessment that was published at the beginning of this month by Avril Haines, the US Director of National Intelligence, the main adversaries that tried to influence the 2020 US elections were Russia as well as Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and Hezbollah. The intelligence community assessed that China did not engage in activity connected to the elections.