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Defense Secretary Robert Gates Announces Nation's First Cyber-Commander

Four-star Army general Keith Alexander appointed to tackle cyber-warfare.

Photo: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announces the formal activation of Cyber Command. Army Gen. Keith Alexander, seated far right, was appointed the nation's first cyber-commander. Photo by Cherie Cullen, Department of Defense

Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced on Friday, May 21, the appointment of four-star Army Gen. Keith Alexander as the country's first commander of the newly created U.S. Cyber Command. Cyber Command is a subdivision of the U.S. Strategic Command, the agency responsible for military space operations, missile defense and strategic deterrence. Alexander has served as director of the National Security Agency and chief of Central Security Service since 2005. Cyber Command was conceived during President George W. Bush's administration to combat the growing threat to national security from cyber-attacks. The development of Cyber Command was continued under President Barack Obama and was formally activated on Friday. During the activation ceremony, Gates announced Alexander would helm the agency.

"Given our increasing dependency on cyber-space, this new command will bring together the resources of the [Department of Defense] to address vulnerabilities and meet the ever-growing array of cyber-threats to our military systems," Gates said.

Cyber Command is to be headquartered in Fort Meade, Md., and according to an Air Force News Service release, will be "charged with pulling together existing cyber-space resources, creating synergy that does not currently exist and synchronizing war-fighting effects to defend the information security environment."