Cyber War: Obama Wants To Split Cybercom From The NSA

Sahash Khanal

With looming threats of an open cyber war with Russia, U.S. President Barack Obama has moved to split the leadership of the NSA and the United States' cyber warfare command. Obama supported made the following statement.

"While the dual-hat arrangement was once appropriate in order to enable a fledgling Cybercom to leverage NSA's advanced capabilities and expertise, Cybercom has since matured to the point where it needs its own leader."

President Obama spoke last week about how the U.S. is more vulnerable to cyber attacks compared to Russia.

"Our economy is more digitized, it's more vulnerable, partly because we're a wealthier nation, and we're more wired than other nations."
"Dictators may win cyber battles, but they will lose cyber wars."

Jason Healey, a Columbia University scholar, calls the election hacking one of the most serious kinds of conflict we've ever come across. And he doesn't think the U.S.'s diplomatic tactics or sanctions against Russia are doing it any help.

"It's clear Putin does not care about sanctions or other diplomatic means we might use to get him to back down."

Russian President Vladimir Putin & U.S. President Barack Obama. [Image by Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool/AP Images]

Some experts such as former NSA Computer Scientist, Dave Aitel, recommend that the only way to get the Russians to back down would be for the U.S. to show an aggressive response.

"Let's turn off all the lights in Moscow, then turn them back on five minutes later. And do that every day at a certain hour. It's scary with no collateral damage."

Either way, Frank Cilluffo of George Washington University's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security believes that the U.S. needs to respond right away as not doing show may show a sign a weakness to the adversary.

"From a credibility perspective, we absolutely have no choice but to respond. Everyone is watching."