Earlier this week the Pentagon announced plans to expand its cybersecurity forces over the next several years to prevent attacks and increase security of the government and the nation’s computer networks.
The long term plan is to create three types of forces that will work in unison under the Cyber Command to protect the systems infrastructure, secure the Defense Department systems and expand offensive operations. The “national mission forces” will focus on protecting the nation’s power grid and infrastructure; the “cyber protection forces” will work to secure Pentagon’s computer systems; and the “combat mission forces” will tackle the offensive.
The Washington Post reported that the expansion will add 4,000 new jobs over the next few years, however the Reuters report stated that these numbers are “pre-decisional.” In any case, Pentagon officials confirmed both military and civilian staffing increases are on the way as U.S. Cyber Command moves towards the expansion. The challenge will now be in recruiting, training and retaining qualified IT professionals to handle the different roles which are still in development.
The Department of Defense has been steadily increasing its operations after the 2008 compromise of its classified military computer networks. The breach occurred at a U.S. military base in the Middle East and wreaked havoc on the Central Command, spreading undetected code on both classified and unclassified systems while transferring confidential information into foreign hands. William J. Lynn III, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, called it “the most significant breach of U.S. military computers ever” and marked the event as a “turning point in U.S. cyberdefense strategy.” In 2010 Pentagon began drafting its long term cyberstrategy after finally recognizing cyberspace as an operation domain and obtaining half a billion dollars to develop defensive technologies to improve network security.
In a 2011 article published by the Council on Foreign Affairs, Lynn predicted the increase of cyberattacks as well as the development of cyber technologies and units by other countries. Although this week’s announcement to boost cybersecurity hasn’t been identified as a reaction to a recent threat or attack, it doesn’t disprove the possibility.
Kasia LorencKasia Lorenc is a contributor to Tom's IT Pro. Combining her love of IT and marketing, she currently serves as the Director of Technology and Search Marketing for Zacuto USA in Chicago.
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