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US Cyber National Mission Force promoted to subordinate unified command

US Cyber Command announced last week that its Cyber National Mission Force has been elevated to the status of subordinate unified command.

user icon David Hollingworth
Tue, 20 Dec 2022
US Cyber National Mission Force promoted to subordinate unified command
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The Cyber National Mission Force (CNMF) operates within US Cyber Command to protect US elections, as well as undertaking counter-ransomware operations and working with international partners in cyber security.

“What this designation is really about is the maturity of the Cyber National Mission Force as a forward-looking organisation to defend the nation,” said Major General William J. Hartman, the commander of CNMF. “It’s about building a sustained readiness model that enables us to stay in a fight. It’s about our people: how we develop a dynamic model to recruit, assess, train and retain the world’s most talented cyber force.”

The CNMF was formed in 2014 when US Cyber Command needed a force that could directly engage with online threats. It began with 13 Cyber National Mission Teams and eight direct support teams, but this has since expanded to six complete task forces comprising over 2,000 staff drawn from across the US military and related agencies, including the NSA and DIA.

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General Paul M. Nakasone was the CNMF’s first commanding officer, and he held the recent elevation ceremony.

“This Cyber National Mission Force command is so special because they’ve always been on the cutting edge in terms of the operations we’ve conducted,” General Nakasone said. “This is the command within US Cyber Command that has always taken that first step forward. The future holds a lot for the Cyber National Mission Force.”

Since becoming fully operational in 2018, the CNMF has taken part in hunt forward operations with international partners, a range of remote cyber operations, and assisted in many of the crises faced by the United States.

The CNMF was on the ground in Ukraine earlier in 2022 for a hunt forward operation — a defensive action to monitor hostile cyber activity — alongside Ukrainian cyber specialists. The operation ended days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and monitored Russia’s initial cyber operations against the country.

“Cyber National Mission Force was honoured to work side-by-side with our Ukrainian partners, hunting adversaries on their networks with them,” Major General Hartman said in November, when the operation was revealed in December. “This sort of mission was critical to both our nations’ defences in cyber space — particularly in the face of Russian aggression — and reflects our enduring partnership with Ukraine,” General Hartman added.

The elevation of the CNMF follows US Cyber Command’s own elevation to the status of combatant command.

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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