The Pentagon has approved a major expansion of its cybersecurity force to counter a growing threat of hacking and to conduct offensive operations against foreign foes, the Washington Post reported on Sunday, citing U.S. officials.
The officials, who were not named because the plan is not yet public, said the move would increase the cybersecurity force fivefold, from 900 personnel to a total of 4,900 troops and civilians.
It said senior Pentagon officials made the decision late last year amid a string of attacks, including one that wiped out more than 30,000 computers at a Saudi Arabian state oil company.
The increase in personnel was requested by the head of the Defense Department's Cyber Command.
A Pentagon spokesman had no immediate comment, but said he was aware of the report in the Washington Post.
The plan, the paper said, calls for creating three types of force under the Cyber Command.
"National mission forces," would protect computer systems that undergird electrical grids and other kinds of infrastructure. "Combat mission forces," would help commanders abroad execute attacks or other offensive operations, while "cyber protection forces," would focus on protecting the Defense Department's own systems.
(Reporting by Sarah Lynch; Editing by David Brunnstrom)
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