President Donald Trump on Friday announced that US Cyber Command will be elevated to “Unified Combatant Command” an act which moves its command authority out from under the umbrella of US Strategic Command.
“This new Unified Combatant Command will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation’s defense,” Trump said in a statement.
Politico notes that since its creation in 2009, lawmakers have debated putting US Cyber Command on equal footing with existing organizations that oversee large scale operations in the Middle East, Europe, and the Pacific. With US Cyber capabilities reaching high levels of sophistication in recent years, the idea continued to gain momentum.
Trump said the move “demonstrates our increased resolve against cyberspace threats and will help reassure our allies and partners and deter our adversaries,” as well as “help streamline command and control of time-sensitive cyberspace operations by consolidating them under a single commander with authorities commensurate with the importance of such operations.”
The president also mentioned increased cyber appropriations, saying the move will also “ensure that critical cyberspace operations are adequately funded.”
Trump said Defense Secretary James Mattis will now consider making US Cyber Command and NSA separate organizations. The two organizations are currently run by Adm. Mike Rogers.
In total, the move reflects an important push to lock down national cyber security.
“We will tackle our cyberspace challenges in coordination with like-minded allies and partners as we strive to respond rapidly to evolving cyberspace security threats and opportunities globally,” Trump said.
In June, the government websites of Ohio, Maryland, and New York were hacked by ISIS, displaying an eerie message “I love Islamic State” while Muslim music played in the background.
Those who typed in governor.ohio.gov were directed to a black screen with the message: “You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people for every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries.” The Islamic call to prayer played in the background.
Ohio officials got the site back up and running, after a team of John Kasich’s staff, who were working on the state Corrections website when the attack occurred, were alerted to the hack.
State Treasurer Josh Mandel posted about the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections website on Facebook. “Wake up freedom-loving Americans,” he said. “Radical Islam infiltrating the heartland.”
In Howard County, Maryland, whose website was also hacked, officials are certain no personal information or state data was obtained by the hackers.
“There was no breach of data and no personal information was compromised,” according to a statement from Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “Howard County government is working with law enforcement agencies and an investigation is underway. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
Officials in Brookhaven, New York, the third website hacked, state no data was taken but are still working to get the site back online according to Jack Krieger, Brookhaven communications director.
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