While the US Cyber troops are almost ready for action, there are plenty of cyber troops on active duty
NSA Boss Says U.S. Cyber Troops Are Nearly Ready. The director of the National Security Agency says his first few dedicated cyber troops will be operational by early fall but can the nation wait? What’s NSA Doing Now? Training More Cyber warriors.
The military’s Cyber Mission Force, which will eventually contain 6,200 people split into 133 teams, is the largest single unit dedicated to operating in computer networks. It’s intended to both attack and defend computer systems around the world.
The U.S. Cyber Command ordered the creation of this dedicated cyber unit in 2012, and Adm. Michael Rogers, who is the director of the NSA and the Cyber Command, says the unit will reach what he called initial operating capability by Sept. 30. 2016
Because demand for cybersecurity exceeds capacity, Rogers said, the mission force will be put to work before the agency has time to finish building it.
He said he’s trying to build the force, made up of both military personnel and civilians, even as his agency faces budget cuts. He said it’ll be fully capable by Sept. 30, 2018.
“I just always feel like we’re in a race to make sure we are generating capacity and capability, and that we are doing it faster than those who would attempt to do harm to us,” Rogers said. “As you watch what opponents are doing, as I’m watching behaviors out on the net, it’s almost visceral.”
According to the Department of Defense, about half of the Cyber Mission Force teams will be assigned to protecting military networks from cyber intrusions. Another 20 % will be dedicated to combat missions. About 10 % will be assigned to national mission teams to protect the country’s infrastructure, and the remaining fifth will be assigned to “support teams.”
Rogers said he wants cyber to be integrated into the military and become a tool available to policymakers and operational commanders, as long as it’s used legally. He said he’s tried to stay mindful about the need to balance protecting the privacy and rights of individuals with the government’s duty to protect citizens.
At the same time Russia is building ‘cyber-troops’ as part of the Ministry of Defense
The Russian Defense Ministry plans to create a separate branch of military forces this year, aimed at combating cyber-attacks. According to the head of the Russian Fund of Perspective Research, Andrey Grigoriev – who earlier confirmed the ministry’s plans – said that he and his colleagues have been “cooperating with potential candidates with whom they plan to work with.” He added that the concept of ‘cyber-troops’ is still being formed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia also needs to effectively combat cyber threats. “We need to be prepared to effectively combat threats in cyberspace. To increase the level of protection in the appropriate infrastructure, particularly the information systems of strategic and critically important facilities,” Putin said during a Security Council meeting dedicated to the improvement of military organization in Russia.
Putin noted that the so-called “information attacks” are already being applied to solve problems of a military and political nature. He acknowledged that their “striking force” may be higher than those of conventional weapons.
The Russian President signed a new cyber security doctrine that outlines cyber attacks as a major threat to international security. The doctrine also suggests that such threats be combated with a special international body.
In Asia, South Korea trains cyber-army to combat attacks from the North
In one college major at Seoul’s elite Korea University, the courses are known only by number, and students keep their identities a secret from outsiders.
The Cyber Defense curriculum, funded by the defense ministry, trains young cyber warriors who get a free education in exchange for a seven-year commitment as officers in the army’s cyber-warfare unit — and its ongoing conflict with North Korea.
North and South Korea remain in a technical state of war since the 1950-53. Besides Pyongyang’s nuclear and rocket program, South Korea says the North has a strong cyber-army which the South has blamed for a series of attacks in the past three years. The cyber-defense program at the university in Seoul was founded in 2011, with the first students enrolled the following year. South Korea, is one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries.
That makes its networks that control everything from electrical power grids to the banking system vulnerable against an enemy that has relatively primitive infrastructure and thus few targets against which the South can retaliate.