August 31, 2017

Getting to Ground Truth on the Elevation of U.S. Cyber Command

By Dr. Michael Sulmeyer

One of my biggest frustrations during my time in the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s cyber policy office was the way elevating U.S. Cyber Command became overhyped. Cyber Command was created as a subordinate command within the military’s premier nuclear deterrence command, U.S. Strategic Command. There were good historical reasons for this, but my analysis convinced me there was nothing Cyber Command could undertake if it became a unified command that it could not already do as a subordinate command. Yet as cyber operations became more prominent, the chorus grew to elevate it to its own, independent command. While I never found reason to oppose such a move, I did not think the benefits were all that remarkable. The more consequential question would be when and how to separate the leadership of Cyber Command from the National Security Agency.

Read the full op-ed in War on the Rocks.

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