Cybercom to Elevate to Combatant Command

WASHINGTON --

In response to the changing face of warfare, U.S. Cyber Command will be elevated tomorrow to a combatant command, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said today.

“The cyber domain will define the next century of warfare,” White said at a Pentagon news conference. 

Army Lt. Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, most recently commander of Army Cyber Command, will receive his fourth star as he succeeds retiring Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers as Cybercom commander.

“Just as our military must be prepared to defend our nation against hostile acts from land, air and sea,” White said, “we must also be prepared to deter, and if necessary, respond to hostile acts in cyberspace.”

New Warfighting Domain Has ‘Come of Age’

Nakasone will play a critical role in tasks that include training cyber warriors, advocating for more cybersecurity resources, and planning and conducting cyber operations, White said.

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan is to preside over the Cybercom portion of ceremony at the Integrated Cyber Center/Joint Operations Center at Fort Meade, Maryland, White said.

“This change of command is noteworthy because it signifies the elevation of Cyber Command as our 10th combatant command,” she said. “Last year, [Defense Secretary James N.] Mattis announced the elevation of Cyber Command, acknowledging that a new warfighting domain has come of age.”

Cyber Command Established in 2009

U.S. Cyber Command, which has been a subunified command under U.S. Strategic Command, was established in 2009 in response to the rapidly evolving threats, with adversaries seeking to exploit the cyber domain to attack the United States and its allies.

The elevation of the command raises the stature of the commander to a peer level with other unified combatant command commanders, allowing the Cybercom commander to report directly to the secretary of defense, Kenneth P. Rapuano, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security, told reporters at the Pentagon last year.

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)