Trump orders elevation of CYBERCOM to full combatant command 

By Justin Doubleday / August 18, 2017 at 10:52 AM

President Trump ordered the elevation of U.S. Cyber Command to a unified combatant command today, fulfilling a requirement of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. 

The elevation of CYBERCOM, which had been a subordinate unit to U.S. Strategic Command since its creation in 2009, “will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation’s defense,” Trump said in a statement released Friday

“The elevation of United States Cyber Command demonstrates our increased resolve against cyberspace threats and will help reassure our allies and partners and deter our adversaries,” Trump said. 

“United States Cyber Command’s elevation will also help streamline command and control of time-sensitive cyberspace operations by consolidating them under a single commander with authorities commensurate with the importance of such operations,” he continued. “Elevation will also ensure that critical cyberspace operations are adequately funded.” 

The command's $647 million request for FY-18 includes funding to carry out the elevation, Adm. Mike Rogers, the head of CYBERCOM, told House authorizers during a May 23 hearing.

CYBERCOM is also preparing to exercise its unique acquisition authorities granted by the FY-16 NDAA by the end of September. The command plans to hold its first-ever industry day in late October.

In connection with the elevation, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will now study the potential separation of CYBERCOM from the National Security Agency, according to Trump's statement. Rogers oversees both organizations in a “dual-hat” arrangement, and NSA shares many of its signals intelligent resources with CYBERCOM. 

Mattis' recommendations will be announced “at a later date,” Trump said. 

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) said in a Friday statement he is “pleased” by CYBERCOM's elevation, but said “there is much more to be done” to meet cyberspace challenges. 

“We must develop a clear policy and strategy for deterring and responding to cyber threats,” McCain said. “We must also develop an integrated, whole-of-government approach to protect and defend the United States from cyber attacks.”

McCain also applauded the Trump administration's decision to base the future separation of CYBEROM from NSA on “conditions, rather than arbitrary political timelines.” McCain came out in opposition to reports of the Obama administration potentially ending the dual-hat arrangement in late 2016. 

“While Cyber Command and the National Security Agency should eventually be able to operate independent of one another, the administration must work closely with the Congress to take the necessary steps that will make this separation of responsibilities successful, and to ensure that each agency will emerge more effective and more capable as a result,” McCain said.