CYBERCOM’s Status Mulled

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) confirmed this week that Pentagon officials are considering upgrading US Cyber Command from its current status. “There is a proposal before the Secretary of Defense to elevate Cyber Command from a sub-unified command under US Strategic Command to a full-fledged unified command,” wrote Levin in his prepared opening remarks for the committee’s April 17 hearing with the Pentagon leadership on the Defense Department’s Fiscal 2014 budget request. Levin noted that the SASC and House Armed Services Committee expressed concern over this idea in language they included in the Fiscal 2013 defense policy act, “given the immaturity of the command and the cyber policy framework, as well as concerns about sustaining the dual-hatting” of the CYBERCOM boss as the National Security Agency director. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel did not address the proposal during the hearing, but Gen. Martin Dempsey, Joint Chiefs Chairman, said he’s not sure “the timing is right” for such a move. Dempsey did advocate for the dual-hatted role and said he thought the command already is “adequately organized.” However, he acknowledged that, “if we were having this conversation in 2020 . . . people will say, ‘Of course, it should have been a unified command.'”