With the 2020 election fast approaching and tensions with Iran continually shifting, many people are looking to U.S. Cyber Command to help ensure cybersecurity. The command faces an uphill battle because the current construct allows each service branch to retain tactical command of its organic cyber experts. To be more successful in the cyberspace domain, the command needs to take over tasking authority for all cyber-related units, establish a standardized joint cyber schoolhouse and establish a Joint Cyber Operations Command to perform joint, effects-driven cyber operations.
For the first time in 70 years, the U.S. military will be adding another service to its organization, the Space Force. The move becomes official with the signing of the S. 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 by the president later today, announced Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley, USA. The top two military leaders briefed the press at the Pentagon and broadcasted the event online December 20.
On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, H.R. 2500, by a vote of 220-197. Known as the NDAA, the annual legislation authorizes policy measures for the Defense Department. It varies from the Senate’s bill, S. 1790—passed on June 28—which the two legislative bodies will have to reconcile before sending a final NDAA to the president.
The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA 2019), passed by Congress on August 1 and signed by President Trump yesterday, takes cybersecurity a step further, with language affirming DOD’s role in defending against attacks and operating in cyberspace, the fifth warfare domain.
Although past NDAA legislation has included some provisions on DOD’s cyber role, this year’s bill specifies that the Secretary of Defense has the authority to conduct military cyber activities or operations in cyberspace—including clandestine activities—to defend the United States and its allies.