McCain: Elevate CYBERCOM

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday he will propose using the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to make US Cyber Command a unified combatant command. CYBERCOM is currently a sub-unified command subordinate to US Strategic Command. McCain suggested he and SASC ranking member Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) would make the proposal together. In response, Reed didn’t fully commit. “Well, I think so, sir,” he told McCain. “I think that’s something we’re going to consider. But I think it’s valuable to have Adm. [Michael] Rogers’ comments today and consider them as we go forward.” When Reed earlier asked Rogers, head of CYBERCOM and director of the National Security Agency, whether the command is mature enough for unified-command status, Rogers responded: “Yes.” He argued in favor of the move. “My input to the process has been the combatant commander designation would allow us to be faster, which would generate better mission outcomes,” he said. “I would also argue that the department’s processes of budget, prioritization, strategy, policy are all generally structured to enable direct combatant commander input.” Then-CYBERCOM chief Army Gen. Keith Alexander favored the move in October 2013, but said he would not propose the change for a couple of years.