- The Washington Times - Monday, January 28, 2013

The U.S. Department of Defense gave the go-ahead to a massive expansion of its cybersecurity force to fight off computer hacks and security compromises, according to media.

The expansion comes on the heels of an Anonymous attack on the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s website.

The Defense Department’s Cyber Command is expected to grow its staff from 900 to 4,900 over the next few years, according to media reports.

In public remarks at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York in October 2012, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of the potential for a “cyber-Pearl Harbor” and advised the United Stations to boost cybersecurity programs.

“An aggressor nation or extremist group could use these kinds of cyber tools to gain control of critical switches,” Mr. Panetta said then, according to media reports.

“They could derail passenger trains, or even more dangerous, derail passenger trains loaded with lethal chemicals. They could contaminate the water supply in major cities or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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