In answering Daines’ call, Trump directs higher status for U.S. Cyber Command

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) requested that U.S. Cyber Command be promoted to unified combatant command status and President Donald Trump has replied in the affirmative, clearly revealing the growing centrality of cyberspace to U.S. national security.

Daines had included an amendment last December in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 to elevate Cyber Command to an independent military unit that would report directly to the Secretary of Defense.

At that time, Cyber Command — established in 2009 to prevent foreign cyberattacks, coordinate integrated electronic warfare efforts and lead military information and cyberspace operations — was a subordinate unit to U.S. Strategic Command, one of the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) nine unified commands.

Trump’s Aug. 18 directive to the Pentagon now means that Cyber Command will become DOD’s 10th unified command, signaling what DOD said last week was its “resolve to embrace the changing nature of warfare” as well as the department’s “long-term commitment to cyberspace as a warfighting domain.”

“I’m glad to see President Trump heed my call to elevate Cyber Command to a combatant command — our nation must dominate the cyber domain just as we do on land, at sea and in the air,” Daines said.

In his own released statement last week, the president said the move “demonstrates our increased resolve against cyberspace threats and will help reassure our allies and partners and deter our adversaries.”

Daines and U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) were among a bipartisan group of senators who initially called for ramping up Cyber Command’s stature to empower its efforts to fight ISIS in cyberspace.

“The elevation of Cyber Command to a combatant command is vital to ensuring that the United States is fully prepared for cyber warfare and has unparalleled capabilities in that domain,” Daines said.