Mark Collins – Souping Up US Cyber Command

Further to this post,

Pentagon’s Cyber Strategy Names Threat Countries, Threatens Retaliation

one wonders how much offensive activity the organization will in fact conduct:

Constructing a Cyber Superpower
At 5 Years Old, US Cyber Command Faces Growth, Challenges

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Roughly $1.8 billion in construction at Fort Meade, Maryland, reflects the expansion of US Cyber Command. The construction includes new facilities, including a 600,000-square-foot server farm.(Photo: US Army)

FORT MEADE, Md. — The site of an Army golf course named for US President Dwight Eisenhower, one long drive from the National Security Agency, is an active construction site, the future of US military cyber.

Where there were once bunkers, greens and tees is a large gray building due to become an NSA-run 600,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art server farm, a skeletal structure that will one day house US Cyber Command’s joint operations center, with plots reserved for individual Marine Corps and Navy cyber facilities.

The plans reflect the growth in ambition, manpower and resources for the five-year-old US Cyber Command. One measure of this rapid expansion is the command’s budget — $120 million at its inception in 2010 rising to $509 million for 2015.

Another measure is the $1.8 billion in construction at Fort Meade, much of it related to Cyber Command. Though Cyber Command’s service components and tactical teams are spread across the country, the headquarters for Cyber Command, the NSA and Defense Information Systems Agency make Fort Meade a growing hub for military cyber.

Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced a new cyber strategy that acknowledges in the strongest terms that the Pentagon may wage offensive cyber warfare. The strategy emphasizes deterrence and sets up a reliance on the commercial technology sector, hinging on a push to strengthen ties between Silicon Valley and the Pentagon [see “US Defense Department Trying to Up Cyber Game–With Private Sector“].

For all the talk of cyber offense, it remains to be seen how the US, and its military, will respond to the massive data breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), attributed to China [see “Chinese Super-Hack on US Government“]. In April, the administration added sanctions to its menu of responses to a cyber attack, alongside indictments or diplomatic complaints, called “demarches.”

Eric Rosenbach, the principal cyber adviser to the secretary of defense, told lawmakers in April, “The Department of Defense is not here to defend against all cyber attacks, only the top 2 percent, the most serious.”

Cyber Command’s deputy commander, Air Force Lt. Gen. James McLaughlin, told an industry audience in mid-June that the command’s responsibility following the OPM hack has thus far been to notify its personnel about whose information had been compromised. Its core mission is defending all Department of Defense networks, collectively known as the DoDIN…

Lots more.  Earlier:

Burgeoning US Cyber Command–Plus the UK (and Canada)

Cyber Update: Canada, UK, US

US Cyber: Defence and Now Offence?

And now in Canada–a tweet:

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds
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