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The U.S. Cyber Command (Cybercom) plans to boost its numbers in the coming years by adding 4,000 cyber soldiers to its current workforce of 900 military and civilian personnel. These new employees will be part of Cybercom’s expanded hands-on fight against cyber terrorism.
As these cyber soldiers are brought into the fold at Cybercom, the force will become the major player in national cyber defense.
With the additional hands on deck, the U.S. Cyber Command will be divided into three distinct teams: National Mission Forces, Combat Mission Forces and Cyber Protection Forces. Each team will have a very specific area of responsibility, according to a report from ReadWrite:
The National Mission Force will protect computer networks for infrastructure like electrical grids, telecommunications and power plants from overseas attacks. The Combat Mission Force will provide assistance to the military to respond or implement cyber attacks of their own; and the Cyber Protection Force will add protection levels to Department of Defense websites.
There are, however, some practical concerns with these cyber-warfare endeavors: Recent Department of Defense budget cuts could make it difficult to hire a host of new personnel.
Moreover, demand for employees with cyber-defense skills is at an all-time high as officials in every segment of the economy scramble to find candidates who can defend against hackers.
Despite the potential obstacles, Cybercom has no choice but to press on, because the expansion is part of the government’s new offensive stance against cyber terrorism.
Defense officials realize that the next great terrorist threat will likely come from the Internet and, as a result, have moved to bolster defenses.
If we think about the increased reliance our society has on network connectivity, it’s not difficult to imagine how any cyber attack could have catastrophic.
While boots on the ground won’t be going away anytime soon, Cybercom’s vow to bring in new cyber soldiers highlights that it’s just as important to have boots — or rather, fingers and eyes — on the information superhighway as well.
Read about the NSA's efforts to recruit hackers.