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Trump OKs plan for independent Cyber Command

Trump OKs plan for independent Cyber Command

"Elevation will also ensure that critical cyberspace operations are adequately funded", he said. In conjunction with this move, Secretary of Defense James Mattis will consider whether to split Cyber Command from the NSA and will deliver his recommendation "at a later date".

He said the move is not a response to any particular incident - such as Russian hacks during the 2016 election - but is a reflection of the command´s growing importance.

This tension came to the fore when President Barack Obama previous year ordered Cyber Command to take more aggressive action against the Islamic State in cyberspace.

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The goal is to give Cyber Command more autonomy, freeing it from any constraints that stem from working alongside the NSA, which is responsible for monitoring and collecting telephone, internet and other intelligence data from around the world - a responsibility that can sometimes clash with military operations against enemy forces. However, by law, the two agencies can not be split until authorities certify that there would be no negative operational impact on either, he said.

Cybercom is headquartered in Fort Meade, Maryland and will eventually comprise nearly 6,200 personnel organised into 133 teams.

President Barack Obama endorsed splitting the agencies before he left office.

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The U.S. has long operated quietly in cyberspace, using it to collect information, disrupt enemy networks and aid conventional military missions. Its only defensive operations are to protect the United States' classified networks.

The long-awaited move elevates U.S. Cyber Command as a so-called unified command, granting its commander additional decision-making and purchasing power. It was established in 2009 under the leadership of U.S. Strategic Command.

In a statement Friday, Trump said his decision demonstrated his "increased resolve" to defend the nation against cyberthreats.

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"I have directed that United States Cyber Command be elevated to the status of a Unified Combatant Command focused on cyberspace operations", Trump said in a statement.


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