UNITED STATES CYBER COMMAND BADGE

United States Cyber Command was established on 23 June 2009 at the direction of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as a sub-unified command under U.S. Strategic Command. The Command did not achieve full operational capability on October 31, 2010, nearly four months after General Keith Alexander was approved as Commander on May 21, 2010.

Due in large part to the fact that it uses National Security Agency networks, its headquarters are Fort George G. Meade in Maryland, and all three of its Commanders have also headed the National Security Agency. Both the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations and Joint Functional Component Command-Network Warfare were absorbed into Cyber Command upon its creation.

The Cyber Command Seal and Badge both prominently display the alphanumeric string “9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a.” On July 8, 2010, a researcher at an anti-virus company announced that the text was actually an MD5 hash that, when decoded, turned out to be Cyber Command’s Mission Statement.

Besides the coded Mission Statement, the other elements found on the Cyber Command badge include an eagle, two crossed swords, a lightning bolt, and a key. The swords are symbolic of the Command’s dual mission of both defensive and offensive operations; the lightning bolt represents the speed at which those operations can be executed in cyberspace; and the key is emblematic of Cyber Command’s linchpin role in national security.

Cyber Command has been the source of some controversy, in part due to the recent proliferations of hacks on both governmental organizations and private enterprises. On a less-consequential note, a 2013 story published in Foreign Policy magazine revealed that General Alexander’s fascination with science fiction in general and Star Trek in particular had inspired him to design a conference room at the Command’s Information Dominance Center to mimic the bridge of the starship Enterprise. After entering through doors that make the familiar whooshing sound made famous on the TV show, Alexander encouraged visiting lawmakers and other officials to sit in the “Captain’s chair” as he used a large view-screen during briefings.

General Alexander announced his retirement from military service in October, 2013 with an effective date of March, 2014. The current head of U.S. Cyber Command is Admiral Michael Rogers.
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