Donald Trump lifts Cyber Command status to boost cyber defence

Trump's move will help spur development of cyber weapons to deter attacks, punish intruders and tackle adversaries.
Trump's move will help spur development of cyber weapons to deter attacks, punish intruders and tackle adversaries.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Donald Trump elevated the status of the Pentagon’s US Cyber Command on Friday (Aug 18) to help spur development of cyber weapons to deter attacks, punish intruders and tackle adversaries.

In a statement, Trump said the unit would now be ranked at the level of Unified Combatant Command focused on cyberspace operations. The defense secretary is also considering separating the US Cyber Command from the National Security Agency (NSA), he added.

Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both strong voices on security matters, praised the move that they said would boost the command’s abilities.

Still, McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said more steps were needed to meet the nation’s cyber security challenges and protect it from such attacks.

“We must develop a clear policy and strategy for deterring and responding to cyber threats. We must also develop an integrated, whole-of-government approach to protect and defend the United States from cyberattacks,” he said in a statement.

Established in 2010, Cyber Command had been ranked below the US Strategic Command, which is responsible for military space operations, nuclear weapons and missile defence.

Cyber Command aims to shut down and, when ordered, counter cyber attacks.

The NSA’s mission is to gather intelligence and generally favours monitoring enemies’ cyber activities.