ICYMI: Inhofe Discusses United States Cyber Command at SASC Hearing

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), discussed the United States Cyber Command with Admiral Michael S. Rogers of the United States Navy. Rogers serves as Director of the National Security Agency, Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command and Chief of the Central Security Service.

Click to watch Sen. Inhofe’s introduction.

As prepared for delivery:

The committee meets today to hear from Admiral Mike Rogers, Commander of U.S. Cyber Command, Director of the National Security Agency, and Chief of the Central Security Service. Given your upcoming retirement, this is likely your final appearance before this committee. We are grateful for your many years of distinguished service to our nation and for the counsel you have provided as we have grappled with the difficult challenges of cyber.

As the recent National Defense Strategy identified, renewed great power competition with Russia and China leaves every domain—including cyber—contested. Without a guiding strategy, a robust cyber force, and cohesion across the whole of government, we will remain at significant disadvantage.

As we approach the eighth anniversary of Cyber Command, we should recognize the remarkable progress you have made in taking what was a very niche warfighting concept and establishing around it a full-fledged warfighting command. Later this year, we anticipate that you will achieve full operational capability for the 6,200-person Cyber Mission Force.

Despite the many successes, there are still significant challenges. The committee remains concerned about a hollow cyber force due to the lack of priority across the Services to deliver the required tools, capabilities, and personnel. Efforts have improved, but the fact remains that we are not where we need to be: we lack the bench strength necessary to sustain the force. 

Additionally, our government’s organization for cybersecurity is at a disadvantage, with responsibilities spread across DOD, DHS, and the FBI—with little semblance of coordination. We cannot just wait for a major cyber attack and then try to get this right. We look at some of the other countries—they’ve got this more centralized and coordinated. We need to address that to see if we have some improvements we can make structurally.

Admiral Rogers, thank you again for appearing today. We have always appreciated your candid advice and wish you well on your future endeavors. 

Watch Sen. Inhofe’s Q&A here.