Between Russian meddling in multiple democratic elections, massive Chinese data exfiltration from troves like the US Office of Personnel Management, and out-of-control ransomware spreading from North Korea, nation-state cyber-aggression has become markedly more prominent in recent years.
That escalation provides the backdrop for a new Trump administration directive to elevate United States Cyber Command, currently a division of the National Security Agency, to the status of a unified military command.
“This new Unified Combatant Command will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation’s defense,” President Trump said in the statement.
“The elevation of United States Cyber Command demonstrates our increased resolve against cyberspace threats and … will also help streamline command and control of time-sensitive cyberspace operations.
Cyber Command 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.