Cybersecurity

Carter visits Cyber Command

Ashton Carter

In a recent visit to Cyber Command, new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter highlighted the importance of a skilled cyber workforce.

Ashton Carter chose Cyber Command for his first troop event in the United States as secretary of the Defense Department, a move he said showed the importance of cybersecurity to the Pentagon.

In a March 13 televised speech to Cyber Command staff at Fort Meade, Md., the new secretary reflected on the close relationship between the command and the National Security Agency, and the challenge of incorporating cybersecurity into military career fields.

Development of the cyber workforce "can be a model for other things we do in the department," Carter said. "The freshness of approach -- the constant effort to stay up [and] reinvent that your field demands -- is actually something we can use everywhere in the department."

Yet work remains to integrate cybersecurity into traditional military career paths, he added.

Carter also backed keeping Cyber Command and NSA under one leader, as they have been since the command's formal establishment in 2010. "One way of thinking about that is that we just don't have enough good people like you to spread around," he said to the employees. "We need to cluster our hits as a country, and that's one of the reasons why we're going to keep these two together, at least for now."

A technology and privacy review panel appointed by President Barack Obama in 2013 advised against having the same person lead NSA and Cyber Command, but the administration rejected the recommendation. While defending the two organizations' union, Carter left open the possibility of separating the pair once Cyber Command has been sufficiently developed.

He also cast the cybersecurity mission in moral terms. "We're the ones who stand with those who create and innovate against those who would steal and destroy," he said. "That's the kind of country we are, and that's the kind of cyber force we are."

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


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