The Marine Corps is forming a new cyberwarrior unit at Maryland’s Ft. Meade, home of U.S. Cyber Command, according to Defense Media Activity (DMA), the Pentagon’s media arm.
According to DMA, the unit’s mission is “to man, train and equip Marine Cyberspace mission teams to perform both defensive and offensive cyber operations in support of United States Cyber Command and Marine Forces Cyberspace Command.”
“This has been a long time coming. U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace (MARFORCYBER) was established in January 2010, a new occupational specialty for cyber-warriors was set up in 2011, and a Marine-specific doctrine was adopted last year,” reports Bloomberg. “The unit won’t be fully operational until fiscal 2017.”
Citing a statement from the Marine Corps, Stars and Stripes reports that the cyberwarriors unit was activated Friday during ceremony at Ft. Meade.
Currently, the unit only has a “few” cyber teams in operation.
“We’ve always had the means to communicate and the means to protect that communication, but today we’re in an environment where those methods are more and more reliant on a system of transmissions, routers and networks,” Col. Ossen D’Haiti, the unit’s commander, reportedly said in the statement. “So, the ability to protect that, the ability to control that and deny an adversary to interdict that, is crucial to command and control.”
“Everything from power grids, banking, government operations to defense contractor weapons’ plans have shifted online in the past few decades,” notes Stars and Stripes. “That information is a tempting target for both state-sponsored hackers and criminal organizations that are becoming increasingly sophisticated at cybertheft.”
Last November, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller protested against China stealing military secrets from the United States.
“While we’ve been fighting, our adversaries, many of them in this part of the world — pick one: China, North Korea, Iran, Russia — what have they been doing? Making money, buying new gear, stealing all of our secrets,” he declared. “Ever look at all the Chinese equipment? What’s it look like? It looks like our stuff. How is that? They stole our stuff, fair and square.”
“The Navy, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard are also actively recruiting cyber soldiers and standing up their own cyber units and programs,” reports Stars and Stripes.