US Cyber Command is slated to reach full operational capability next month, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, who heads the new organization, told the House Armed Services Committee Thursday. Alexander said the infant command, which began initial operations in May, faces some daunting tasks, including protecting the Defense Department’s computer networks against 200,000 to 250,000 probes and scans every hour. He said the biggest threat so far has been hacker activity, or disruptive attacks. Although these activities are an inconvenience, it is possible to recover from their temporary effects. “What concerns me the most,” he continued “are destructive attacks” that permanently disable a system, forcing its replacement. “We are concerned that those are the things we will continue to see,” he testified. He added, “If that would happen in a war zone, that means our command and control would suffer. We’ve got to be prepared for that.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.