The Pentagon is going toward a major expansion of its cybersecurity team to parry expanding attacks on the nation’s networks, as well as to expand offensive computer operations on foreign adversaries, defense officials said Sunday.
The expansion is increasing the Department of Defense’s Cyber Command by more than 4,000 people, from the current 900, an American official said. Defense officials admitted that a formidable challenge in the growth of the command would be discovering, training and holding onto such a large number of certified people.
The Pentagon “is constantly looking to recruit, train and retain world class cyberpersonnel,” a defense official said Sunday.
“The threat is real and we need to react to it,” said William J. Lynn III, a former deputy defense secretary who worked on the Pentagon’s cybersecurity strategy.
As part of the expansion, officials said the Pentagon was planning three different forces under Cyber Command: “national mission forces” to protect computer systems that support the nation’s power grid and critical infrastructure; “combat mission forces” to plan and execute attacks on adversaries; and “cyber protection forces” to secure the Pentagon’s computer systems.