Trump Elevates U.S. Cyber Command to “Unified Combatant Command”

“This new Unified Combatant Command will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation’s defense,” President Donald Trump said in a statement. | Jim Watson/Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Friday announced that U.S. Cyber Command will be elevated to a “Unified Combatant Command,” putting it on equal footing with existing organizations that oversee military operations in the Middle East, Europe and the Pacific.

The move ends years of rumors, speculation and debate over when the right time would be to spin out the Pentagon’s cyber war unit, which has rapidly grown since its 2009 inception. The Obama administration reportedly came close to pulling the trigger in its final months, and Trump’s White House had reportedly also been on the cusp of making the move official for weeks.

In a statement, Trump declared that the new arrangement “will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation’s defense.”

The boost, he added, “demonstrates our increased resolve against cyberspace threats and will help reassure our allies and partners and deter our adversaries.”

Before his inauguration, Trump vowed to bolster Cyber Command, potentially including the development of more cyber weapons meant to deter attacks on the United States.

On Friday, Trump said this move will do just that. It will help “streamline command and control of time-sensitive cyberspace operations,” he said, and ensure that “critical cyberspace operations are adequately funded.” The administration requested $647 million for Cyber Command in fiscal 2018, a 16 percent increase from the previous year.

Moving Cyber Command out from underneath the umbrella of U.S. Strategic Command — one of the military’s nine unified commands — has been bandied about for years. The idea gained more momentum among Pentagon leaders and lawmakers recently as the organization’s digital capabilities and personnel matured.

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SOURCE: Politico, Martin Matishak