NATO to designate cyber as domain of warfare: report

NATO to designate cyber as domain of warfare: report
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NATO member countries will likely move to designate cyber as an official domain of warfare during a summit meeting in Warsaw next month, a senior German defense ministry official said, according to Reuters.

Major General Ludwig Leinhos told a Berlin conference that he expects all 28 members to agree to the change. Leinhos, a former senior NATO official, leads the German military’s initiative to build a separate cyber command.

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The move would be a nod to the increasing importance that actions in cyberspace play in defense operations. In the U.S., Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said recently that the military is “dropping cyber bombs” on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Leinhos also said he expects members to agree to boost cybersecurity efforts.

The U.S. announced in 2011 that it views cyber as an operational domain of war, but lawmakers are currently grappling with whether the military's cyber force is ready to be a fully operational command unit.

Right now, U.S. Cyber Command is under the auspices of U.S. Strategic Command. But many lawmakers believe the unit should be elevated to a stand-alone war-fighting entity.

The House version of the annual Defense authorization bill, which passed 277-147 last month, would do just that. The language was absent from the Senate version of the bill passed out of committee, but a bipartisan group of senators is attempting to attach it as an amendment.

The White House opposes a statutory requirement that the unit be elevated.