Obama Pulls Cybercommand Control From NSA; Changes To Take Effect Whenever

from the in-the-meantime,-leverage-those-synergies! dept

The NSA will have to satisfy itself with being the most powerful intelligence agency in the world. President Obama, rushing through some last-minute presidential business before handing over the title to an aspiring plutocrat, has split up the nation's cyberware command. This siloing prevents Cybercom from being run by the same military officer who oversees the NSA.

“While the dual-hat arrangement was once appropriate in order to enable a fledgling Cybercom to leverage NSA’s advanced capabilities and expertise, Cybercom has since matured” to the point where it needs its own leader, Obama said in a statement accompanying his signing of the 2017 defense authorization bill.

Basically, no one man should have all this power. This scales back the NSA's offensive involvement, leaving it to play defense for the US government -- a limitation it's never been happy with.

The offensive end of the nation's cyberwarfare will now have its own leader, which points towards an increase in offensive efforts, rather than tighter handling of the reins.

Sticking the NSA with defense doesn't make it happy, considering the wealth of offensive weapons it has at its disposal. But having a new singular focus may help it refine its pitch for a cut of some unfiltered domestic data. The NSA would rather be in on the ground floor of the information sharing forced on private companies by the recent passage of cybersecurity legislation. If it can defend the government's most sensitive networks, surely it can be trusted handling the civilian side as well?

Obama's approval of the defense spending bill may be putting different hats on different individuals, but his letter also notes that the more things change, the more things aren't really going to change for the foreseeable future.

“The two organizations should have separate leaders who are able to devote themselves to each organization’s respective mission and responsibilities, but should continue to leverage the shared capabilities and synergies developed under the dual-hat arrangement,” Obama wrote.

So, there will be two different figureheads leading two different Cybercommand wings… but working together in the same building… using the same NSA-developed tools… during a "phased transition" with no clear endpoint.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2016 @ 8:15am

    Well, as long as this is all intelligible and clearly defined...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2016 @ 8:34am

    So, kinda like when police and prosecutors leverage the synergies of judge, jury, and executioner?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Donald Trump's Hair, 27 Dec 2016 @ 8:42am

    "before handing over the title to an aspiring plutocrat"
    I had to explain to him what a plutocrat was.
    He still didn't get it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2016 @ 3:24am

    Aspiring Kuiper Objects and Cartoon Dogs

    "'Cybercom has since matured to the point where it needs its own leader,' Obama said..."

    What could possibly trump that reasoning?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 28 Dec 2016 @ 3:48am

    Any plans to cover the "Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017" that has the hidden provision in it Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act.

    Be curious what this site thinks of that, considering techdirt would be fall under such a description as an alternative form of media

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ohsass (profile), 28 Dec 2016 @ 5:52am

      Re:

      I'm sure we have absolutely nothing to be concerned about with our government being in charge of what is considered "disinformation" or "propaganda either. [Sic]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2016 @ 7:55am

    Love the continued fear mongering...quite entertaining

    So Obama was fully capable of holding such power but nobody else is. Good stuff there. Anything Obama can do with his pen and phone Trump can undo with his. So lots of fear mongering from the left as usual.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2016 @ 10:50am

    Spy versus Spy

    "President Obama ... has split up the nation's cyberware command"

    We now have the (US) varsity sparring with the (US) junior varsity; both will now be responsible for hacking (US) elections.

    We no longer need bugbears like Putin to blame political failures on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.