£1.15 bn US cyber-command under construction

The £1.15 billion (US$1.8 billion) Fort Meade under construction in Maryland is primarily focused on facilities for the five year old US Cyber Command headquarters and for five of the US military's top seven cyber-centric organisations including Cyber Command's joint operations center, an NSA-run 600,000 sq ft High Performance Computing Center-2 server farm, Defense Information Systems Agency as well as individual Marine Corps and Navy cyber facilities. The only other such centres are Army cyber, at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and Air Force cyber, at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

Fort Meade's growth reflects increased importance of cyberspace activities says the installation's commander, Col. Brian Foley, with Cyber Command's budget up from £77 million (US$120 million) in 2010 to £325 million (US$509 million) for 2015 according to a report in Defense News (DN).

DN also notes US Defense Secretary Ash Carter's new cyber-strategy that acknowledges that the Pentagon may wage offensive cyber-warfare, but that response to the massive data breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), attributed to China, has had a more conventional ‘spying' charges response, plus notifying personnel about whose information had been compromised.  Eric Rosenbach, principal cyber-adviser to the US secretary of defense, had earlier noted: "The Department of Defense is not here to defend against all cyber attacks, only the top two percent, the most serious."

In March the Cyber Mission Force was said to be at about half of its target of 6,187 personnel in 133 teams, to be divided among the nation mission force, the combat mission teams and cyber-protection teams.  Each service has a two- or three-star headquarters whose commander provides forces both to their service and Cyber Command when they are supporting other joint forces headquarters.