May 12, 2010
The US government, after some delay, has formally confirmed in post the head of its now-forming military Cyber Command. Keith B Alexander, head of the NSA, has been promoted to four-star general* and will now head the new cyber forces as well as his current agency.
The Cyber Command will be based alongside the NSA, perhaps the world’s most powerful crypto and intercept agency, at Fort Meade in Maryland.
The new command, which will be subordinate to US Strategic Command (STRATCOM), was created last June and it was hoped that Alexander would be in post before now. However, in the USA top jobs of this sort must be confirmed by Congress and in this case the legislators took their time. Many expressed concerns over control of the possible offensive capabilities of the nascent US military cyber forces, or worried that they might present threats to Americans’ privacy or civil liberties.
Alexander, during his confirmation hearings, stressed that in his view the cyber forces’ mission was primarily that of protecting American networks rather than striking at those of others.