Keith Alexander is officially number one at online warfare’s Cyber Command. But he’s no sofa-slumper and it’s no game.
Alexander is in fact four-star General Keith Alexander, and Cyber Command is a newly created subdivision of the US Army’s Strategic Command, which is effectively the military’s tech unit and already deals with missile defense and military space operations.
Cyber Command, also known as USCYBERCOM, will be based in Fort Meade, Maryland with around 1,000 staff. It’s formal remit is to “pulling together existing cyberspace resources, creating synergy that does not currently exist and synchronizing war-fighting effects to defend the information security environment.”
The logic of the new organization is that just as land, air and sea are all treated as military spheres, so should cyberspace. The appointment of Alexander is designed to make sure the cyber unit is able to deal with other command units on an equal footing.
The primary aim is to defend the military’s computer and communication networks, though it may also play a role in protecting government infrastructure. One idea is that the Department of Homeland Security will be able to use Cyber Command as its primary resource on cybersecurity issues.
Officials have already acknowledged there will need to be further consultation and exploration to clarify exactly how international law and rules of conflict apply to online activity.