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General Keith Alexander, NSA chief and commander of U.S. Cybercom, announced last week at the 4th Annual Cybersecurity Summit that a new National Mission Force Headquarters has been opened, one of three cybersecurity commands designed to handle cyber attack incident response.

Cybercom work closely with the National Security Agency to defend critical government and private sector assets against cyber-borne threats, and Alexander believes there will be an escalation in attacks, underscoring the need for a strong cyber defense mechanism.

“Look at what’s happened in the past year. Over 300 distributed denial-of-service attacks on Wall Street. We saw destructive attacks in August 2012 against Saudi Aramco and RasGas,” Alexander said. “What that says to me is that this is going to pick up. It’s going to get worse and we have to get a number of things done to protect this country.”

Chief among the initiatives undertaken is the continued training of cyber defense forces which began in earnest this year, and will continue over the next two years.

“The best in the world — that’s what the American people expect of our military and of our intelligence community and that’s what we’re doing. Why? In this area, technical skills really matter. So we’re engaged in a multiyear effort with the services to train our forces,” Alexander said.

Along with developing a well trained cyber defense force, Cybercom is also seeking to refine the efficiency of its operations, which are vital to nearly aspect of the nation’s military and intelligence capabilities.

“Cyber Command provides cyber support elements to every combatant command today. We’re refining our operational concepts and our command and control. And I think… coming up with the operational concepts and the command and control is absolutely vital to the future,” Alexander said.

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