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The US military now has a new cyber defense department aimed at protecting US military networks

The US military has officially created a new "cyber command" center that will help protect the military from foreign-based cyber attacks, along with possibly launching digital warfare attacks against rival nations.

The new department was established by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and marks the first time the US government has ever created such a department.  The command will operate as part of the US Strategic Command, and will begin official service this October.

Gates will communicate with Pres. Barack Obama and recommend the director of the National Security Agency (NSA) leads the post.  It's possible the NSA's Lieutenant General Keith Alexander will outline how the department will operate in the future, but nothing has been announced as of yet.

The command will specialize in defending military networks, and will not focus on defending other government computers.  Military networks are continually under attack from both curious parties probing the networks and organized hacker rings.

US military officials hope the new cybersecurity unit will be fully operational in Oct. 2010.

There has been growing concern over the inability of the US government to protect both government and military institutions from increasing foreign cyber attacks, with China and Eastern European nations leading the attacks.  Once talk began of a department aimed specifically for cyber-related defense, there was immediate confusion as to who would lead the department.

Should the President be in control?  The Department of Homeland Security?  NSA?  Security experts have been meeting with government officials to try and figure out who is best suited to handle cyber security issues.  

The US government still needs to create a department aimed at protecting US government networks, but it's unknown when that'll take place.




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