U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday he has ordered the military to elevate its cyber warfare unit to a stand-alone command.
Under the directive, the U.S. Cyber Command, which currently comes under the Strategic Command, will join the ranks of unified combatant commands that oversee military operations in the Pacific, the Middle East and elsewhere.
"I have directed that United States Cyber Command be elevated to the status of a Unified Combatant Command focused on cyberspace operations," Trump said in a statement.
The elevated command will "strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation's defense," he said. The move demonstrates "our increased resolve against cyberspace threats and will help reassure our allies and partners and deter our adversaries," he added.
Trump did not name the adversaries, but they are believed to include the Islamic State militant group.
It was not immediately clear whether North Korea's cyber threats were a major focus.
In 2014, the U.S. blamed the communist nation for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which was to release a movie about a fictional assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The Congressional Research Service, in a report early this month, warned of the potential of North Korean cyberattacks to "direct resources to its clandestine weapons and delivery system programs."
The president's order was "not a response to any individual incident," Kenneth Rapuano, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security, told reporters at the Pentagon.
Trump added in his statement, "Through United States Cyber Command, we will tackle our cyberspace challenges in coordination with like-minded allies and partners as we strive to respond rapidly to evolving cyberspace security threats and opportunities globally." (Yonhap)