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US finalising plans to revamp cyber command

July 16, 2017

WASHINGTON: After months of delay, the Trump administration is finalising plans to revamp the nation’s military command for defensive and offensive cyber operations in hopes of intensifying America’s ability to wage cyber war against the militant Islamic State group and other foes, according to US officials.

Under the plans, US Cyber Command would eventually be split off from the intelligence-focused National Security Agency. Details are still being worked out, but officials say they expect a decision and announcement in the coming weeks. The officials weren’t authorised to speak publicly on the matter so requested anonymity.

The goal, they said, is to give US Cyber Command more autonomy, freeing it from any constraints that stem from working alongside the NSA, which is responsible for monitoring and collecting telephone, internet and other intelligence data from around the world a responsibility that can sometimes clash with military operations against enemy forces.

Making cyber an independent military command will put the fight in digital space on the same footing as more traditional realms of battle on land, in the air, at sea and in space. The move reflects the escalating threat of cyber attacks and intrusions from other nation states, terrorist groups and hackers, and comes as the US faces ever-widening fears about Russian hacking following Moscow’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 American election.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2017