WASHINGTON – The U.S. military must reorganize its offensive and defensive cyber operations and will use a new command at a Maryland Army facility to create a digital warfare force for the future, the director of the National Security Agency says.
Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, also the Pentagon's leading cyber warfare commander, said the U.S. is determined to lead the global effort to use computer technology to deter or defeat enemies, while still protecting the public's constitutional rights.
In testimony prepared for delivery Tuesday to a House Armed Services subcommittee, Alexander and other military leaders in cyber matters outlined the challenges to keeping up with rapidly changing technologies and the need for more resources and training. In blunt comments, Alexander acknowledged that cyber training for the Pentagon's work force is inadequate and must be improved.
In separate prepared testimony, Lt. Gen. William Shelton, the Air Force's chief of warfighting integration, said the Pentagon relies heavily on industry efforts to respond to cyber threats. That approach, he said, does not keep pace with the threat.
The testimony comes as the Obama administration prepares to release its review of the nation's cybersecurity, and on the heels of a critical report by the National Research Council. The independent group's report concluded that the government's policies on how and when to wage cyber warfare are ill-formed, lack adequate oversight and require a broad public debate.
Alexander said the military's new cyber command at Fort Meade, Md., will be a sub-unit of U.S. Strategic Command, and would be designed to "defend vital networks and project power in cyberspace."
Defense Department networks are probed repeatedly every day and the number of intrusion attempts have more than doubled recently, officials have said.
Military leaders said earlier this month that the Pentagon spent more than $100 million in the past six months responding to and repairing damage from cyber attacks and other computer network problems.