Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Aren't Cybercommand And The Einstein Crew At DHS Culpable For The Solarwinds Fail?

politico  |  Pentagon officials are making an 11th-hour push to potentially break up the joint leadership of U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, a move that would raise inevitable questions about Army Gen. Paul Nakasone's future as head of the country’s largest spy agency.

Five people familiar with the matter told POLITICO that senior Defense Department leaders are reviewing a plan to separate the two agencies, a move lawmakers and DoD had contemplated for years but had largely fallen by the wayside since Nakasone assumed command of both organizations in 2018. The Wall Street Journal reported that a meeting about the proposal is scheduled for this week. Defense One first reported the effort was afoot.

If successful, the move could create major upheaval just as national security officials try to determine the full scope of a monthslong hack of several major U.S. agencies — including Homeland Security Department and the nuclear weapons branch of the Energy Department — by Russia’s elite spy agency.

Trump “talking about trying to split up the cyber command from the national security agency, in the midst of a crisis to be talking about that type of disruption makes us vulnerable again,” House Armed Services Chair Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said Saturday night during an interview with CNN.

On Friday, Smith sent letters to acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, warning them against severing the leadership of NSA and Cyber Command. The two agencies have shared leadership under a so-called dual-hat arrangement since the Pentagon stood up Cyber Command in 2009.

Nakasone has led the military’s top digital warfighting unit and the federal government’s largest intelligence agency for roughly two and a half years. He has re-imagined how both organizations can deploy their own hackers and analysts against foreign adversaries via a doctrine of “persistent engagement” — putting U.S. forces in constant contact against adversaries in cyberspace, including tracking them and taking offensive action.

The four-star is beloved by both Democrats and Republicans, especially after defending the 2018 and 2020 election from foreign interference. Some lawmakers even joke they wish they could put Nakasone in charge of more parts of the federal government.