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CybersecurityU.S. Cyber Command plans to recruit 6,000 cyber professionals, as U.S. mulls offensive cyber strategy

Published 6 October 2014

Last Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R- Michigan) told reporters that he would like to see the United States adopt a more offensive strategy in cyberspace, but added that the Pentagon, intelligence agencies, and law enforcement must first develop protocols for offensive cyber measures.The following day, U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) announced plans to recruit 6,000 cyber professionals and create 133 teams across the country to support the Pentagon in defending the nation’s cyber infrastructure.

Last Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R- Michigan) told reporters that he would like to see the United States adopt a more offensive strategy in cyberspace, but added that the Pentagon, intelligence agencies, and law enforcement must first develop protocols for offensive cyber measures. “We haven’t coordinated that policy. We have disparate levels of cyber offensive capability across the federal government. … Some are fantastic, some not so good and then [there are] some in the middle,” Roger said. The following day, U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) announced plans to recruit 6,000 cyber professionals and create 133 teams across the country to support the Pentagon in defending the nation’s cyber infrastructure. “We’ve used technology and the ability to connect people and things without even thinking about the threats,” Lt. Gen. James McLaughlin, deputy commander of USCYBERCOM, said at a Fort Meade Alliance event which gathered security industry and business leaders to discuss private-public partnerships in cybersecurity. McLaughlin, who now directs the daily activities of USCYBERCOM, previously led the Air Force Cyber Command in San Antonio, Texas.

According to Stars and Stripes, it is still unclear which military branch should respond to cyber threats, but USCYBERCOM will play a role in arranging the most effective partnerships. U.S. Cyber Command’s priority is to build and train a cyber workforce and to define who has the authority to respond to threats and vulnerabilities, McLaughlin said. The 133 teams would include soldiers and civilians working across all branches of the military. To date, each branch has performed cyber defense duties independently. “They have different ways of implementing and defending,” McLaughlin said, adding that he anticipates in five to ten years, USCYBERCOM will be independent of other agencies and will operate alone.

Representatives from regional tech companies were encouraged to continue to develop new technologies which will help the United States stay ahead of cyberattacks. McLaughlin noted that colleges and universities should promote their cybersecurity programs, as the country lags behind some other nations in producing high school and college graduates with background in science, technology, engineering, and math. “We are behind as a nation in generating the next generation of workers,” McLaughlin said, noting that technology will continue to play an increasing role in defending U.S. interests.