Washington: The Pentagon has approved a major expansion of its cybersecurity force over the next several years, according to US officials.
It has approved to increasing its size more than fivefold to bolster the nation`s ability to defend critical computer systems and conduct offensive computer operations against foreign adversaries, officials have said.
The move is part of an effort to turn an organization that has focused largely on defensive measures into the equivalent of an Internet-era fighting force.
According to the paper, the command, made up of about 900 personnel, will expand to include 4,900 troops and civilians.
The plan calls for the creation of three types of forces under the Cyber Command: "national mission forces" to protect computer systems that undergird electrical grids, power plants and other infrastructure deemed critical to national and economic security; "combat mission forces" to help commanders abroad plan and execute attacks or other offensive operations; and "cyber protection forces" to fortify the Defense Department`s networks.
According to the paper, details of the plan have not been finalized, but the decision to expand the Cyber Command was made by senior Pentagon officials late last year in recognition of a growing threat in cyberspace.
The gravity of that threat, according to the officials, has been highlighted by a string of sabotage attacks, including one in which a virus was used to wipe data from over 30,000 computers at a Saudi Arabian state oil company in 2012, the paper added.