Cyber Command to grow workforce by 500 percent, adopt offensive mission

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The Defense Department will expand its cybersecurity force fivefold as the military moves to add offensive cyber operations to its repertoire of tactics, reports the Washington Post in a Jan. 27 article. Under the multi-year plan, DoD's Cyber Command will balloon from about 900 personnel to 4,900 troops and civilians.

While details of the plan are not final, Cyber Command expects to divide its workforce by mission type: "national mission forces" to protect computer systems that undergird electrical grids, power plants and other infrastructure deemed critical to national and economic security; "combat mission forces" to help commanders abroad plan and execute attacks or other offensive operations; and "cyber protection forces" to fortify DoD networks.

The "combat mission" teams may help commanders in operations such as a cyber component to disable an enemy's command-and-control system before a conventional attack. An unidentified senior defense official says in the article that the "national mission" teams would focus their efforts overseas and that any actions they took would be directed outside domestic networks--unless the teams were asked to provide assistance to another agency with domestic authority, such as the FBI.

Nevertheless, the Post article notes the plan raises concerns about how the military services will find so many qualified cybersecurity personnel and train them, as well as concerns abut the close alignment between Cyber Command and the National Security Agency. Gen. Keith Alexander, head of Cyber Command, is also the director of NSA and the organizations' respective operations centers are located side by side.

Alexander, a driving force behind the plan to grow Cyber Command, has been asked to stay on until summer 2014. He is also seeking independent budget authority for the command to hire and control forces, and wants the organization elevated to full command status. Currently, Cyber Command is subordinate to Strategic Command.

For more:
-read Washington Post article 

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