German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen will assemble the new cyber command later this week for a celebratory installation in Bonn.
The command will have its own independent organizational structure, thus becoming the sixth branch of the German military – on a par with the army, navy, air force, joint medical service and joint support service. Although other countries, such as the USA, set up cyber commands long ago, the Bundeswehr now sees itself "at the international forefront," Ursula was quoted as saying by Deutsche Welle Saturday.
In the first nine weeks of this year alone, the Bundeswehr's network was attacked some 284,000 times. The Bundeswehr has also been affected by targeted disinformation campaigns online. Thus, the Defense Minister views attacks from cyberspace as, "a growing threat to our security."
Future cyber attacks are to be fended off by the new "Cyber and Information Space Command" (CIR), which will become operational on April 1.
Eventually, 13,500 German soldiers and civilian contractors currently dealing with cyber defense from a number of different locations will be brought together under the CIR's roof. The Bundeswehr is also desperately seeking IT specialists in the labor market. It is currently running elaborate advertising campaigns in order to pitch the army as an attractive and modern IT employer – not exactly the Bundeswehr's trademark to date.
The new cyber command unit will consist of 260 members, who will, nevertheless, have to wait for their new building to be completed before being able to move in for good. The unit is to be at full strength, and the Bundeswehr completely capable of comprehensive defense in cyberspace, by 2021.