The U.S. Cyber Command division will be "constantly looking to recruit, train and retain world-class cyber personnel" expert in both offensive and defensive technologies, a department spokesman told The New York Times.
The expansion would increase the Defense Department's Cyber Command by more than 4,000 people, up from the current 900, the Times reported Sunday.
Three task forces will be set up, officials said: a "cyber protection force" responsible for protecting the Pentagon's own internal systems; a "national mission force," which will have similar responsibilities to protect national infrastructure such as the U.S. power grid; and finally a "combat mission force" that will take a more proactive role in cyberwarfare, planning and executing cyber operations.
The moves follow statements made in October by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warning the United States was facing the possibility of a "cyber-Pearl Harbor" wherein foreign computer hackers could dismantle the nation's power grid, transportation system, financial network and government.
Security officials have identified China, Russia, Iran and a number of militant groups as potential cyber-aggressors.