A cyber force is a military branch devoted to cyberwarfare, cybersecurity, and counter-cyberwarfare. Its responsibilities could also include operations to combat cyberterrorism and to establish cyber power projection. A cyber force can be part of a military branch or a combined command. Presently, it has no official definition although the United States Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated terms provided relevant concepts that indicate cyber force could be constituted by personnel who conduct cyberspace operations in cyberspace and the activities include computer network operations (and its three subordinate constructs, which is attack, defense, and exploitation), and the routine operation and defense of cyberspace.
From an international legal perspective, the use of cyber force or a force of an armed nature in the technical sense during a cyber conflict could be established under the framework of self-defense prescribed in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.
In 2009, the United States Cyber Command was created at the National Security Agency and was elevated to the status of a full and independent Unified Combatant Command on May 4, 2018. It has been reported that this branch carried out cyber attacks that damaged Iran's nuclear research facilities using Stuxnet.
Retired United States Navy Admiral and Supreme Allied Commander Europe James G. Stavridis, retired United States Army General Keith B. Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command, and other United States military officers have called for the creation of a United States Cyber Force.
Current Cyber Forces and military cyber commands
There are now existing cyber forces in several countries such as the case of Norwegian Cyber Defence Force. One of its notable activities involved an incident in 2017 when it announced that it responded to a cyber attack carried out by "Fancy Bear", a cyber espionage group associated with Russian interests. Recently formed cyber forces include the Dutch Ministry of Defense's Defense Cyber Command (DCC). Its first commandant, Brig. Gen. Hans Folmer, outlined the branch's goal and how cyber capabilities form an integral part of Dutch military action in an article called "Defense Cyber Command: a New Branch to the Defense Tree".
The following list outlines the cyber forces currently in operation around the world:
- People's Liberation Army Strategic Support Force
- U.S. Cyber Command
- French Cyber-Defence Command
- Dutch Defense Cyber Command (Defensie Cyber Commando)
- Norwegian Cyber Defence Force
- Joint Cyber-Defence Command
- Estonian Cyber Command
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- Koch, Robert; Rodosek, Gabi (2016). ECCWS2016-Proceedings of the 15th European Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security. Reading, UK: Academic Conferences and Publishing Ltd. p. 191. ISBN 9781910810934.
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