Last month, President Trump announced U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) would be elevated to a “Unified Combatant Command,” allowing it to be of equal stature as other Unified Commands that oversee all military operations in various regions of the world, such as Pacific Command (PACOM). The President’s decision makes Cyber Command, formerly a subordinate unit under U.S. Strategic Command, the 10th unified command in the U.S. Department of Defense. This command was first opened in 2009 as a result of an order by then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. [1]

Trump’s desire to stand up this command was known since before his inauguration when he vowed to do so and mentioned his desire to increase its capacity and lethality. In his statement, the President said this unification of Cyber Command “will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation’s defense.”

The President did make a significant increase in his 2018 Fiscal Year request for a total of $647 million for Cyber Command, which was a 16 percent increase from the previous year.

Currently the NSA (National Security Agency) and U.S. Cyber Command are overseen by Admiral Mike Rogers in a dual-responsibility post. A portion of Trump’s recent announcement was also an order to Secretary Mattis to conduct a review of whether Cyber Command should be split from NSA or not. There was little opposition to unifying Cyber Command but there appears to be much more disagreement over whether Cyber Command should be a complete separate entity from the NSA. Many believe that both CYBERCOM and the NSA should be able to operate independently from one another, but it is important that the Executive Branch work with Congress to carefully craft and take the proper steps to separate these two organizations in a careful and intentional manner.

NSA is responsible for picking up signals intelligence; like phone calls, emails, web traffic etc. Cyber Command is the military’s offensive and defensive cyber operations organization that protects all Department of Defense networks and conducts foreign operations in the cyberspace against other nation-states and non-state actors alike.

With this announcement, President Trump has fulfilled a requirement by law declared in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2017 to elevate Cyber Command.


  1. “Trump Administration Elevates Cyber Command, Eyes Split From NSA.” Morning Consult. August 21, 2017. Accessed September 01, 2017. https://morningconsult.com/2017/08/21/trump-administration-elevates-cyber-command-eyes-split-from-nsa/.