Human personnel alone cannot adequately respond to the cyber threats facing the US military today, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work told Congress Wednesday. “This is an area where we will not be able to solve it with people,” he told the Senate defense appropriations subcommittee. As directed by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, the Pentagon is currently “elevating Cyber Command to a full combatant command,” Work said, and “We’re on track to have all of our cyber mission teams fully operationally capable by September 2018.” The refocused command will have defensive and offensive components. “We’re putting together the structure to watch our networks and also to be able to put together tools that our national command authority can use if necessary,” Work said. But he emphasized the need to develop “artificial intelligence and learning machines to push back” against cyber threats because “there just are not enough people to defend our networks against all of the attack surfaces that we have.”
Chinese balloons have previously entered U.S. airspace but went undetected by the Pentagon, revealing a gap in American air defenses, NORAD and NORTHCOM commander Gen. Glen D. VanHerck said.