Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cyber Command Update

The establishment of the Pentagons Cyber Command at Fort Meade is still being held up in Congress as the Senate holds hearings on the nomination of Lt. General Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency to head the command. According to this wire report by Lolita C. Baldor in the Star Tribune his nomination “has given senators leverage to delve into the complex world of cyber warfare. Later this week, a Senate committee will face off with Alexander during a hearing on his nomination.”

“One concern involves Alexander's position as head of the National Security Agency, which oversees electronic intelligence-gathering. Lawmakers and others question whether the secretive spy agency should have control over cyber issues.”

Meanwhile the country remains vulnerable to cyber attacks. According to this story by Tom Gjleten on NPR, “in a major cyberwar scenario, the United States would be uniquely vulnerable. No military is more dependent on data networking. Unmanned aircraft send video feeds back to Earth 24/7, while soldiers on the ground are guided by GPS signals and linked via computers to other units and command posts.”

Although congressional approval of General Alexander’s nomination is widely expected, the current delay could potentially be very costly. The Secretary of Defense had originally planned for the new command to be fully operational by this fall.

The Howard County Base Realignment & Closure Office currently estimates that the Cyber Command could bring an additional 7,000 direct jobs and 13,000 indirect and induced jobs to Fort Meade.