Defining Cyber Roles

The Defense Department—in particular US Strategic Command and US Cyber Command—do not have the Congressional authorities needed to respond to a cyber attack on the nation, Gen. Robert Kehler, STRATCOM boss, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday. “Our role has been defined at this point to defending, protecting the DOD network. The relationship outside that is being established with the Department of Homeland Security,” which has the lead in protecting critical US infrastructure, said Kehler. He added, “So there is a limit to what DOD can do.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), SASC ranking member, asked Kehler to submit a report outlining his views on what authorities are still necessary. “A lot of us feel that this is the new battleground of the 21st century. And for you not to have all the tools at your disposal to protect this nation’s national security interests in the event of a cyber attack is not an acceptable situation,” said McCain. (Kehler’s prepared statement) (See also Defining Authorities in Cyberspace)