The Philippines will launch a new military command to enhance digital defense in response to growing cyber threats.
The future “Cyber Security Command” will operate independently to ensure the nation’s and its armed forces’ safety against malicious actors.
The unit will work to mitigate the alarming rise of cyber assaults on government agencies recorded in recent months.
Among these assaults were attacks on the country’s House of Congress, the Philippine Insurance Corporation or PhilHealth, and the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Breaches included the leak of old files and non-sensitive documents from the previous two years on their servers.
Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. announced the effort at the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines forum in Quezon City.
“With the increased threats that we are facing and the importance of the cyber domain as a new domain in warfare, we thought of coming up with these changes like the development of the Cyber Command,” he told reporters.
Although instances of attacks on public institutions were confirmed, including the armed forces cyberinfrastructure, Brawner did not name the suspects involved in these cases.
“We have experienced this almost every day,” he said, adding that none were successful. “We believe some of the attacks are foreign.”
Further steps to plan and establish the command will require approval from Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. due to critical changes being levied on some organizations under the military.
‘Relaxed’ Enlistment Expected
Brawner noted that the upcoming cyber command will integrate information technology experts less strictly than traditional warfighter enlistment to attract more recruits.
The approach is expected to boost the military’s cyber specialist headcount without leveraging existing tactical operators from the joint forces.
“Instead of recruiting soldiers for infantry battalions, this time we will recruit cyber warriors,” Brawner said.
“We will be looking for talented, skilled individuals. They might not be competent to pass the regular recruitment procedures and requirements, so we are relaxing them (requirements) a bit just like in other countries.”
“Instead of recruiting soldiers for infantry battalions, this time we will recruit cyber warriors. There is this general realization that this new breed of warriors does not have to be muscle strong.”