Cyber Command shifts counterterrorism task force to focus on higher-priority threats | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Cyber Command shifts counterterrorism task force to focus on higher-priority threats

U.S. Cyber Command is shifting the majority of its special task force aimed at targeting the Islamic State group to focus more on nation-state actors, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, which the command and the Department of Defense are prioritizing.

Joint Task Force-Ares was created in 2016 to combat the militant organization online as a compliment to the global coalition fighting against the group’s grip on power in Iraq and Syria. The task force has since undergone several changes. The Army’s cyber component was originally tasked to lead the joint cyber effort, but in 2018, responsibility shifted to Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command, which allowed the team to focus not just on the Islamic State group, but more broadly on counterterrorism efforts globally.

“Counterterrorism operations in cyberspace are continuous, helping to protect the force and prosecute targets in Afghanistan and other regions on behalf of USCENTCOM [Central Command] and USSOCOM [Special Operations Command],” Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of Cyber Command, said in written testimony to Congress in March. “We are also shifting JTF-Ares’ focus (though not all of its missions) from counterterrorism toward heightened support to great power competition, particularly in USINDOPACOM’s [Indo-Pacific Command’s] area of responsibility.”

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