Government plans integrated space, cyber defense entity / SDF to staff new body, strengthen natl security

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe government plans to establish an integrated organization to enhance the nation’s defense capabilities in the cyber world and in space, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The organization will be under the direct control of the defense minister and will be created as early as 2020. Plans for the organization may be included in the National Defense Program Guidelines, which are scheduled to be reviewed at the end of 2018.

The new organization will be headed by a general officer and staffed by personnel from the ground, maritime and air branches of the Self-Defense Forces. It will be ranked alongside the Ground Central Command — scheduled to be established in March — the Air Defense Command and the Self-Defense Fleet, and have authority over the cyber and space fields.

It will include an existing cyberdefense team plus a space unit, the latter to be set up in the early 2020s. The cyberdefense team will be tasked with monitoring the Defense Ministry and Self-Defense Forces networks around the clock. The government plans to increase the number of personnel from the current about 110 to about 150 next fiscal year.

The space unit will monitor space debris that might hinder satellite operations, and antisatellite weapons.

Space and cyberspace are regarded as the fourth and fifth battlefields, following land, maritime and air. If the cyber network is attacked, both the command communications system of the Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces and people’s lives will be widely affected. Compared with the armed forces of countries such as the United States, China and Russia, the SDF’s capabilities lag far behind in the cyber and space fields.

The government plans to take advantage of the launch of the new organization to strengthen those capabilities, the sources said.

China and North Korea are enhancing their offensive capabilities in the cyber field, but Japan does not have the capability to attack other countries because of its exclusively defensive security policy. In reviewing the National Defense Program Guidelines and the Midterm Defense Program, it is likely the pros and cons of being capable of cyber-attacks will be discussed, along with the capability to attack enemy bases.Speech

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