Department of Defense officials say new authorities and policies have allowed cyber operators to move faster and execute new operations in recent months.

“Over the last six months we’ve been given sufficient authorities that allow us to implement the approach of defending forward,” Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, deputy commander of Cyber Command, said during a presentation at the CyCon conference in Washington Nov. 14. “We can no longer have policy that runs all the way to the very senior levels of our organizations before we can take action. We need the flexibility to act as we see emerging threats and opportunities in this space.”

U.S. Cyber Command say they must be persistently engaged in cyberspace providing constant contact against adversaries on a daily basis. Part of this approach involves what officials are also deeming “defend forward," or fighting the cyber battle on someone else’s turf as opposed to fighting it at home by gaining access to adversary networks or infrastructure to get insights into what they might be planning.