Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

U.S. Military Undergoes Restructuring to Emphasize Cyber and Space Capabilities

Extract

Since entering office, President Trump has taken steps to restructure the U.S. military to raise the profile of both its cybersecurity and space capabilities. The administration has elevated U.S. Cyber Command to a Unified Combatant Command and has implemented policies signaling a shift toward a more offensive cybersecurity mindset. The administration has also begun the process of establishing a U.S. Space Command, as well as pursuing a plan to create a new branch of the military centered around space-related operations. Although this restructuring does not by itself implicate international law, it might do so if it results in operational changes.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      U.S. Military Undergoes Restructuring to Emphasize Cyber and Space Capabilities
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      U.S. Military Undergoes Restructuring to Emphasize Cyber and Space Capabilities
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      U.S. Military Undergoes Restructuring to Emphasize Cyber and Space Capabilities
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All

1 Donald J. Trump, Memorandum on Elevation of the United States Cyber Command to a Unified Combatant Command, 2017 Daily Comp. Pres. Doc. No. 577 (Aug. 18) [hereinafter Trump Cyber Memorandum]. Initiatives within the military to deal with cyber security issues existed as early as 1998, but it was not until 2008 that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates created an entity formally referred to as U.S. Cyber Command, which worked in collaboration with the National Security Agency. See U.S. Cyber Command, U.S. Cyber Command History, at https://www.cybercom.mil/About/History [https://perma.cc/9AWX-EPJZ].

2 There are currently six geographic commands—Africa, Central, European, Northern, Pacific, and Southern— and, following the elevation of Cyber Command, four functional commands—Cyber, Strategic, Special Operations, and Transportation. See U.S. Dep't of Defense, Combatant Commands, at https://www.defense.gov/Our-Story/Combatant-Commands.

3 Katie Lange, DoD's 9 Combatant Commands: What They Are, What They Do, DoDLive (Aug. 17, 2016), at http://www.dodlive.mil/2016/08/17/dods-9-combatant-commands-what-they-are-what-they-do [https://perma.cc/6ZWF-UUGU] (adding that “operations are various phases of a war or military engagement; exercises are routine or non-routine training that tests strategies and explores the effects of warfare without actual combat”).

4 10 U.S.C. § 161 (a)(1), (b)(2)(B); see also Mark P. Nevitt, The Operational and Administrative Militaries, 52 Ga. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2019) (discussing the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, which implemented the system of unified commands across the various forces within the military). Nevitt argues that congressional oversight tends to focus on the administrative branches of the military rather than on the conduct of the various commands, with the result that the executive branch has a great deal of autonomy with respect to these commands. See generally id.

5 U.S. Cyber Command, History, at https://www.cybercom.mil/About/History (noting that the planning for this Cyber Command began in 2008).

6 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, Pub. L. 114-328, at § 923(a), 130 Stat. 2000, 2357 (2016). In signing this act, President Obama stated that “Congress should leave decisions about the establishment of combatant commands to the executive branch” but noted that he “strongly support[ed] elevating [Cyber Command] to a unified combatant command.” Barack Obama, Statement on Signing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, 2016 Daily Comp. Pres. Doc. No. 863 (Dec. 23). Trump's memorandum cited to this statutory provision in elevating Cyber Command. Trump Cyber Memorandum, supra note 1.

7 Lisa Ferdinando, U.S. Dep't of Defense Press Release, Cybercom to Elevate to Combatant Command (May 3, 2018), at https://dod.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/1511959/cybercom-to-elevate-to-combatant-command [https://perma.cc/U4VM-HA9A].

9 Id.

10 Donald J. Trump, Statement on the National Cyber Strategy, 2018 Daily Comp. Pres. Doc. No. 615 (Sept. 20) [hereinafter National Cyber Strategy Statement].

11 This was also signaled earlier in the general National Security Strategy released in December 2017. Its “Cyberspace” section noted that “[w]hen faced with the opportunity to take action against malicious actors in cyberspace, the United States will be risk informed, but not risk averse, in considering our options.” National Security Strategy of the United States of America 32 (2017), available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/NSS-Final-12-18-2017-0905.pdf [https://perma.cc/HAX9-HYK3].

12 See generally National Cyber Strategy of the United States of America (2018), available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/National-Cyber-Strategy.pdf [https://perma.cc/EDT5-GMWA].

13 Id. at 20.

14 Id.

15 U.S. Dep't of Defense, Fact Sheet: 2018 DoD Cyber Strategy and Cyber Posture Review (Sept. 18, 2018), available at https://media.defense.gov/2018/Sep/18/2002041659/-1/-1/1/Factsheet_for_Strategy_and_CPR_FINAL.pdf [https://perma.cc/TA5M-5SFU].

16 John Bolton, U.S. National Security Advisor, National Security Adviser John Bolton on Cyber Strategy, C-SPAN, at 5:40 (Sept. 20, 2018), at https://www.c-span.org/video/?451807-1/national-security-adviser-bolton-briefs-cyber-strategy-audio-only. In a related development one month earlier, Trump reportedly ordered the reversal of an Obama administration directive, known as Presidential Policy Directive 20 (PPD-20), which placed restrictive interagency approval requirements on any offensive cyber operation. Dustin Volz, Trump, Seeking to Relax Rules on U.S. Cyberattacks, Reverses Obama Directive, Wall St. J. (Aug. 15, 2018), at https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-seeking-to-relax-rules-on-u-s-cyberattacks-reverses-obama-directive-1534378721. The Trump administration has since replaced PPD-20 with National Security Presidential Memorandum 13 (NSPM-13), the text of which has not been made public, but which reportedly “frees the military to engage, without a lengthy approval process, in actions that fall below the ‘use of force’ or a level that would cause death, destruction or significant economic impacts.” Ellen Nakashima, White House Authorizes “Offensive Cyber Operations” to Deter Foreign Adversaries, Wash. Post. (Sept. 20, 2018), at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-authorizes-offensive-cyber-operations-to-deter-foreign-adversaries-bolton-says/2018/09/20/b5880578-bd0b-11e8-b7d2-0773aa1e33da_story.html. For a more complete discussion of the broader implications accompanying the reversal of PPD-20, see Dakota S. Rudesill, Trump's Secret Order on Pulling the Cyber Trigger, Lawfare (Aug. 29, 2018), at https://www.lawfareblog.com/trumps-secret-order-pulling-cyber-trigger.

17 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, Pub. L. 115-232, at § 1636(a) (2018).

18 Id., § 1642(a)(1); see also id., § 1642(d) (providing that this section should not be “construed to … affect the War Powers Resolution”). The remaining provisions of the NDAA addressing cyberspace-related matters tend to be more administrative in nature. For an expanded discussion regarding these provisions, see Robert Chesney, The Law of Military Cyber Operations and the New NDAA, Lawfare (July 26, 2018), at https://www.lawfareblog.com/law-military-cyber-operations-and-new-ndaa.

19 White House Fact Sheet, President Donald J. Trump Is Unveiling an America First National Space Strategy (Mar. 23, 2018), at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-unveiling-america-first-national-space-strategy [https://perma.cc/BS5N-6M9Z]. The executive branch has not released the actual text of the strategy. The issuance of this fact sheet came shortly after a deadline—set by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018—for the Department of Defense to produce an interim report with recommendations for reforming the “organizational and management structure for the national security space components of the Department of Defense.” National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, Pub. L. 115-81, at § 1601(c) (2017).

20 Associated Press, Trump Announces Creation of “Space Force, YouTube (June 18, 2018), available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kna3YYX7XeE. Presently, in addition to the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, the other two branches are the Marine Corps, which is formally lodged within the Navy, and the Coast Guard, which is currently situated within the Department of Homeland Security.

21 White House Press Release, Remarks by Vice President Pence on the Future of the U.S. Military in Space (Aug. 9, 2018), at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-vice-president-pence-future-u-smilitary-space.

22 Id.

23 U.S. Dep't of Defense, Final Report on Organizational and Management Structure for the National Security Space Components of the Department of Defense 4 (2018), available at https://media.defense.gov/2018/Aug/09/2001952764/-1/-1/1/organizational-management-structure-dod-national-security-space-components.pdf [https://perma.cc/D8EF-KL94].

24 Id. at 7. The report goes into further detail about all four of these components, including individual timelines, goals, and developmental priorities. Id. at 8–13. Space Command had previously existed as a Unified Combatant Command from 1985 to 2002, but its duties were thereafter folded within Strategic Command, another Unified Combatant Command, when military focus turned to combatting terrorism and improving homeland security following the September 11, 2001 attacks. Gary Shugart, Re-establishing U.S. Space Command, Purview (Oct. 1, 2018), at http://purview.dodlive.mil/2018/10/01/reestablishing-u-s-space-command.

25 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, Pub. L. 115-233, at § 1601(a)(1) (2018).

26 Donald J. Trump, Memorandum on Establishment of United States Space Command as a Unified Combatant Command, 2018 Daily Comp. Pres. Doc. No. 855 (Dec. 18); see also U.S. Dep't of Defense Press Release, United States Space Command Commander Announced (Mar. 26, 2019), at https://dod.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/1796472/united-states-space-command-commander-announced [https://perma.cc/36H3-RUDU] (stating that Trump has nominated a commander for the future Space Command).

27 Marcus Weisberber, Legislative Hurdle Delays US Space Command Stand-Up, Defense One (Feb. 28, 2019), at https://www.defenseone.com/politics/2019/02/legislative-hurdle-delays-us-space-command-stand/155220.

28 Jim Garamone, U.S. Dep't of Defense Press Release, DOD Sends Space Force Legislation to Congress (Mar. 1, 2019), at https://dod.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/1771782/dod-sends-space-force-legislation-to-congress [https://perma.cc/YU43-JKHF]; see also U.S. Dep't of Defense, United States Space Force Legislative Proposal (Mar. 1, 2019), available at https://media.defense.gov/2019/Mar/01/2002095010/-1/-1/1/UNITED-STATES-SPACE-FORCE-LEGISLATIVE-PROPOSAL.PDF [https://perma.cc/2BHT-NC67] [hereinafter Space Force Proposal].

29 Space Force Proposal, supra note 28, at 2. The rationale behind this decision is a consideration for not generating unnecessary costs. U.S. Dep't of Defense Press Transcript, Off-Camera Press Briefing in the Pentagon Briefing Room (Jan. 29, 2019), at https://dod.defense.gov/News/Transcripts/Transcript-View/Article/1743317/off-camera-press-briefing-in-the-pentagon-briefing-room [https://perma.cc/JJD6-KGZE].

30 Even as late as November 29, 2018, the White House was reportedly committed to an entirely independent Space Force. Jacqueline Klimas, Trump Going for Full-Blown Space Force, White House Memo Reveals, Politico (Nov. 29, 2018), at https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/29/space-force-military-branch-999528.

31 See Donald J. Trump, Memorandum on Establishment of the United States Space Force, 2019 Daily Comp. Pres. Doc. No. 88 (Feb. 19) (defining “United States Space Force” as a new military branch “to be initially placed by statute within the Department of the Air Force”) (emphasis added).

32 See Senate Armed Services Committee, Executive Summary of Proposed FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, available at https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/FY%202020%20NDAA%20Executive%20Summary.pdf (proposing legislation that would create a Space Force within the Air Force in line with the suggestion of the Department of Defense); Sandra Erwin, HASC Chairman Rejects Trump's Space Force Proposal, Says Committee Will Seek “Other Options, SpaceNews (Mar. 25, 2019), at https://spacenews.com/hasc-chairman-rejects-trumps-space-force-proposal-says-committee-will-seek-other-options (reporting on House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith's opposition to the Space Force proposal).

33 Sandra Erwin, House Appropriators Press for Details on Space Force Cost and Organization, SpaceNews (May 1, 2019), at https://spacenews.com/house-appropriators-press-for-details-on-space-force-cost-and-organization.

34 Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations (Schmitt, Michael N. ed., 2d ed. 2017); see also Efrony, Dan & Shany, Yuval, A Rule Book on the Shelf? Tallinn Manual 2.0 on Cyberoperations and Subsequent State Practice, 112 AJIL 583 (2018) (assessing the extent to which states to date have accepted the rules set out in the Tallinn Manual); Jensen, Eric Talbot, The Tallinn Manual 2.0: Highlights and Insights, 48 Geo. J. Int'l Law 735 (2017) (discussing some of the key points from Tallinn 2.0). For a recent perspective on how the Department of Defense may be approaching these issues, see Michael J. Adams & Megan Reiss, International Law and Cyberspace: Evolving Views, Lawfare (Mar. 4, 2018), at https://www.lawfareblog.com/international-law-and-cyberspace-evolving-views (also noting that the “U.S. government … has taken no official position on the views set forth in the [Tallinn] Manual”).

35 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, at Art. 4, Jan. 27, 1967, 18 UST 2410, 610 UNTS 205 (prohibiting treaty parties from putting “nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction” into orbit or onto celestial bodies).

36 See King, Matthew T. & Blank, Laurie R., International Law and Security in Outer Space: Now and Tomorrow, 113 AJIL Unbound 125, 127–29 (2019) (discussing the application of international law to military space operations).

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Journal of International Law
  • ISSN: 0002-9300
  • EISSN: 2161-7953
  • URL: /core/journals/american-journal-of-international-law
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed