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Israel’s IDF postpones creation of military cyber command

Soldiers of the Israel Defence Forces’ (IDF) cyber warfare Unit 8200. Photograph courtesy of Moshe Shai/Flash90.

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has decided to postpone the creation of a cyber command, opting instead to reorganise its existing military commands to better define the roles and missions of its offensive and defensive cyber warfare capabilities.

The decision comes after intensive planning was begun several months ago by the IDF to create a standalone cyber command, but concerns among senior IDF commander that this could dilute efforts to integrate cyber capabilities throughout the IDF’s force structure. There have also been concerns that the field of cyber warfare is changing too fast and this has resulted in the decision to defer the creation of a unified cyber command.

Instead, the IDF has decided to keep all offensive cyber capabilities within the purview of the Israeli military intelligence division, while cyber defence and network security matters will be the responsibility of the IDF’s telecommunications division, which is likely to be renamed as a result.

A senior IDF officer is quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying, “We want to create unity between the people who are building the military’s IT network and those who defend it,” and that, “we need to develop our operational thinking, how we can better integrate cyber into the IDF’s capabilities.”

This reorganization of IDF cyber capabilities does not ultimately preclude the creation of a unified cyber command according to IDF officers who say that a cyber division could be created by the end of the IDF’s Gideon Plan in 2020. The Gideon Plan is a five-year military modernisation programme that was launched in October 2015.

The IDF’s cautious approach towards cyber warfare organisation reflects a desire to preserve what seems to work well in the still emerging field of warfare while allowing the IDF to still come to grips with other aspects of the cyber domain.

“We do so with caution so as not to make any mistakes, mistakes that have been made elsewhere, and to not harm things that are currently working well. At the same time we are strengthening our intelligence gathering area, and in light of our achievements, that is something that we do not want to hurt,” a senior IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post.

Original published at: http://www.spacewatchme.com/2017/01/israels-idf-postpones-creation-military-cyber-command

 

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