Last month it was big news that the Pentagon was considering increasing the size of U.S. cyber Command from 900 people to 4,900 troops and civilians. Then, in response to the now-famous Mandiant report detailing the exploits of a PLA cyber unit, the Chinese government claimed that the U.S. had a "hacking unit" of 100,000 cyber warriors.
While some people dismissed this claim, we decided to use publicly available info to tally up the size of the U.S. military's various cyber commands -- the units dedicated to protecting the military's networks from cyber attack and waging offensive cyber operations. Keep in mind that we didn't get the total number of civilian contractors or cyber personnel at the NSA, CIA, DIA, and other intelligence agencies. There are also likely troops out there working on cyber that aren't necessarily attached to the units listed below. Nevertheless, the U.S. has far more "cyber warriors" than the 900 people working on digital warfare at Cyber Command.
Here are the numbers that are publicly listed on the web for each service's dedicated cyber arms. These forces act as each service's contribution to U.S. Cyber Command and Strategic Command when needed.
24th Air Force: 16,400+ airmen and civilians.
Navy Fleet Cyber Command/Tenth Fleet: At least 14,000 sailors and civilians
Army Cyber Command: Set to exceed 21,000 soldiers and civilians.
U.S. Cyber Command: 900, set to grow to 4,900 troops and civilians.
Total expected cyber troops: 53,000 to 58,000.
The next step is figuring out the military's total cyber budget.
John Reed reports on the frontiers of cyber war and the latest in military technology for Killer Apps.