Russia, China greatest cyber threats: U.S. Navy Admiral

On Iran, Admiral Michael Rogers says the country is trying to increase and spend more on its cyber capabilities.

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:03 pm IST

Published - April 06, 2016 12:12 pm IST - WASHINGTON:

Admiral Michael Rogers, Navy Admiral in charge of the military’s Cyber Command, has told the Senate Armed Services Committee that while the U.S. has more overall military power than the Russia, China and Iran, the gaps are narrower when it comes to cyber warfare.

Admiral Michael Rogers, Navy Admiral in charge of the military’s Cyber Command, has told the Senate Armed Services Committee that while the U.S. has more overall military power than the Russia, China and Iran, the gaps are narrower when it comes to cyber warfare.

Russia and China present the greatest cyber security threat to the United States, but Iran is trying to increase and spend more on its capabilities, the Navy Admiral in charge of the military’s Cyber Command has told Congress.

Admiral Michael Rogers told the Senate Armed Services Committee that while the U.S. has more overall military power than the three countries, the gaps are narrower when it comes to cyber warfare. He said the U.S. Cyber Command was making progress building cyber mission teams, and would have 133 fully operational by September 2018. He said that nearly 100 teams were already conducting cyberspace operations.

Making Cyber Command full-fledged

Defence Secretary Ash Carter has beefed up the use of offensive cyber warfare in Iraq and Syria and made increasing the department’s cyber capabilities a key goal.

As part of that, he is considering elevating Cyber Command to a full, independent military command. Currently U.S. Cyber Command is a sub-unit of the military’s Strategic Command.

During testimony on Tuesday, Adm. Rogers told senators that being designated a full command would allow his units to “be faster, which would generate better mission outcomes.” He added that it also would give him more input into the budget process and how to prioritise spending.

A worthwhile idea, says top official

A senior U.S. official said on Tuesday that Mr. Carter believed that making Cyber Command a full command would be worthwhile.

The official said that while discussions with the White House were ongoing, Mr. Carter had not yet sent his final recommendation to the President. Congress would also need to approve such a change.

The official was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Security concerns

During the hearing, Adm. Rogers said that his major cyber-security concerns included attacks against critical infrastructure in the U.S. and the possibility that cyber hackers may begin breaching networks and changing data, rather than just reading it or stealing it.

As a result, he said, officials would no longer be able to “believe what we’re seeing,” including in data that the military needed for critical operations.

Extremist angle

In addition, he said that there are increasing worries that extremist groups and others may begin to view cyber as a weapons system and “want to use it as a vehicle to inflict pain against the United States and others.”

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