Sep 23 2010
Opening Statement of Chairman Ike Skelton
Hearing on U.S. Cyber Command: Organizing for Cyberspace Operations
|September 23, 2010|
“Good morning ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to today’s hearing on U.S. Cyber Command: Organizing for Cyberspace Operations. We will hear--for the first time in this committee since Cyber Command was established--from General Keith Alexander, the first commander of U.S. Cyber Command. He also continues to serve in his role as the Director of the National Security Agency.
“General Alexander has a long record of service to the nation, and is a genuinely nice person to boot. I think perhaps the most important thing for the American people to learn from this hearing is that they have exactly the right person in charge of this new command. General Alexander is simply the best, though I would note that there are some other generals from his class at West Point who also haven’t done too badly. General Alexander, welcome.
“U.S. Cyber Command, or CyberCom, has been tasked with conducting the full range of activities needed for the Department of Defense to operate effectively in cyberspace. Of one thing I am confident, cyberspace will be a big part of the future of warfare. That means we can’t afford to get this wrong. The establishment of CyberCom is a critical milestone for this nation’s defense.
“Cyberspace is an environment where distinctions and divisions between public and private, government and commercial, military and non-military are blurred. And while there are limits to what we can talk about in this open forum, the importance of this topic requires that we engage in this discussion in a very direct way and include the public.
“The threats facing the nation in cyberspace are daunting, and have been under appreciated until recently. Just within the DOD, there are more than 15,000 different computer networks including seven million computing devices on 4,000 military installations around the world. These information systems face thousands of attacks a day from criminals, terrorist organizations and more than 100 foreign intelligence organizations. DOD recently announced a new cyberstrategy to deal with that burgeoning threat.
“To understand how well prepared the Department of Defense is to handle the magnitude of this threat; we need to ask some fundamental questions. Where are we today with CyberCom? Where do we want to take it in the future? And do we have what we need to get there?
“An additional challenge for this Committee is determining how CyberCom fits into a broader national effort. DOD has traditionally led the way in protecting information systems, so it is natural for CyberCom to play a role beyond just protecting military networks. What that role should be, however, needs careful analysis. We know that as a nation we must do more to improve security in cyberspace and manage risk without choking off creativity and innovation. General, I look forward to hearing your testimony today on how you intend to address these important issues.
“At this time, let me turn to my friend and colleague, the Ranking Member, Mr. McKeon of California.