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Dempsey: Cybercom Likely to Continue Gaining Prominence

By Claudette Roulo
WASHINGTON — U.S. Cyber Command, currently a subunified command under U.S. Strategic Command, likely will one day become a separate command, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today. 

Noting that the cyber threat will only continue to grow, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told attendees at a Brookings Institution forum that he anticipates a day when operations in cyberspace become a dominant factor in military operations. 

“But, at this point, Stratcom, with its global reach responsibilities, as well as its space responsibilities, is also able to manage the workload that comes with being the next senior headquarters to Cybercom,” the chairman said. “I’m actually content [with] the way we’re organized right now.” 

The chairman noted that the national effort to protect critical civilian infrastructure lags behind the military’s efforts to secure its own networks, largely because information about cyber threats isn’t being shared with the government. 

“Right now, threat information primarily runs in one direction: from the government to operators of critical infrastructure,” he said. Changing this will require legislation, he added. 

The nation’s top military officer said he’s confident that indicators of an impending attack can be shared in a way that preserves the privacy, anonymity, and civil liberties of network users. 

Cybercom will assume a new importance when that conduit opens, the chairman said. “If we get the kind of information sharing we need, that could be a catalyst for changing the organization, because the span and scope of responsibility will change,” he explained.