TEL AVIV, Israel, June 16 (UPI) -- Israel will develop a military command to deal exclusively with cyberwarfare, an Israeli Defense Force official said.
The new command, on a par with the Air Force and the Navy, will unify the cyber corps within two years, pending approval by the defense minister. Israel currently has the responsibilities dispersed throughout its military structure, with the military Intelligence Directorate of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) dealing with offensive capabilities and C4I involved in national protection. The Shin Bet security service, the Mossad intelligence Service and National Cyber Bureau in the Prime Minister's Office also operate without a hierarchy or unified order.
Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, IDF Chief of Staff, commented, "The IDF is required to excel in every aspect of war, including the cyber dimension, which is becoming more significant every day. This new command will empower the IDF to perform better in these fronts."
Maj. Gen. Nimrod Sheffer, head of Israeli military planning, said in a Tel Aviv conference last week, "Israel has been wise enough to invest in becoming one of the greatest cyber powers in the world. And we'll do everything necessary to maintain our place there, including organizational changes. The cyber world is developing swiftly. We have to invest a lot in the cyber world."
Iran is developing cyber weapons that Gadi Siboni, director of the Cyber Security Program at Tel Aviv's National Security Studies called "evidence of the beginning of a process in which cyber war replaces the classic terror as a central tool in Iran's doctrine of asymmetric warfare." Israel has, as well, notably a computer virus that caused havoc at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility, and alleged spying on hotels in Europe which hosted nuclear talks between Iran and the United States. Israel also routinely deals with attacks to its government portals and websites by pro-Palestinian activists.