US to create new military command for cyber warfare: WSJ

April 22nd, 2009 - 10:20 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, April 22 (IANS) The United States will create a new military command to coordinate the defence of Pentagon computer networks and improve offensive capabilities in cyberwarfare, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
The initiative will reshape the military’s efforts to protect its networks from attacks by hackers, especially those from countries such as China and Russia, the influential daily said citing unnamed “current and former officials familiar with the plans.”

The new command will be unveiled within the next few weeks, it said citing Pentagon officials. The move comes amid growing evidence that sophisticated cyberspies are attacking the US electric grid and key defence programmes.

The Journal Tuesday reported that hackers breached the Pentagon’s biggest weapons programme, the $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter, and stole data.

A White House team reviewing cybersecurity policy has sent a raft of recommendations to the president for approval, including the creation of a top White House cyberpolicy official, the Journal said.

President Barack Obama expected to announce the contours of his new approach later this month, it said citing “former officials familiar with the plans.”

A draft of the White House review steps gingerly around the question of how to improve computer security in the private sector, especially key infrastructure such as telecommunications and the electricity grid.

The document stresses the importance of working with the private sector and civil-liberties groups to craft a solution, but doesn’t call for a specific government role.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates plans to announce the creation of a new military “cyber command” after the rollout of the White House review, according to multiple military officials familiar with the plan, the Journal said.

The cyber command is likely to be led by a military official of four-star rank, it said citing unnamed “officials familiar with the proposal.”

It would, at least initially, be part of the Pentagon’s Strategic Command, which is currently responsible for computer-network security and other missions.

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