McCain and Admiral: Cybercom should be its own combatant command

McCain and Admiral: Cybercom should be its own combatant command

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Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command, told the Senate Armed Forces Committee: "I just think we need to step back and look at this very broadly." (File photo/Maryland National Guard)

Sen. John McCain said that it is his intention to propose separating Cybercom from the NSA in the next fiscal year's defense policy bill.

WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain and Admiral Michael Rogers agreed Tuesday that the U.S. military’s Cyber Command should be its own combatant command.

“Cyber is one area where we have peer competitors who have every bit as much capacity and capability as we do,” said Rogers, who heads both the U.S. Cyber Command (Cybercom) and the National Security Agency (NSA), during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

McCain (R-Ariz.) said that it is his intention to propose separating Cybercom from the NSA in the next fiscal year’s defense policy bill. He said this split would allow the organizations to better address the threat of hacking to national security.

Rogers said that Cybercom and the NSA should eventually be a standalone organizations, but for now they are not ready to separate and benefit from the relationship.

Senators denounced the lack of a coherent or fully formed cyber warfare policy by the Obama administration.

When the U.S. is engaged in cyberwarfare, the military responds in “an event by event circumstance,” Rogers said, not with a blanket policy which could also serve as deterrence.

“We need a definition of what is an act of war, what is a proportional response, what is mutually assured destruction situation,” Sen. Angus King (I-Me.) said.

Formed in 2010, Cybercom is an armed forces sub-unified command subordinate to United States Strategic Command. It is slightly over half-staffed, and is on track to be fully operational by 2018, Rogers said.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report Monday concluding that the Defense Department has not clearly defined “roles and responsibilities” for responding to “cyber incidents.”

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