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Thomas Atkin, acting assistant secretary of defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security, testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on June 22, 2016. Screenshot photo.

​The Pentagon will offer its recommendation on whether US Cyber Command should become a unified combatant command to President Barack Obama “in the near future,” the acting assistant secretary of defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security told lawmakers Wednesday morning. Speaking before the House Armed Services Committee, Thomas Atkin said Defense Secretary Ash Carter is currently evaluating the move, but when asked by HASC Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) whether it was time for CYBERCOM— currently a sub-unified command subordinate to US Strategic Command—to stand on its own, Atkin said, “I think the short answer to that is yes.” In its version of the Fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill, the House calls for a unified combatant command for cyber operation forces. The Senate did not include such a provision in its bill despite support from Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). The House and Senate will work to reconcile their bills before going to the White House for signature. (Read Atkin’s prepared testimony.)