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Maryland senators introduce measure to elevate status of Cyber Command

Maryland's U.S. Senators filed a measure on Wednesday to amend an annual Defense Department funding bill to create the 10th top-level American military command at Fort Meade.

In a statement, Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski said elevating Cyber Command would help better defend Americans against online threats and improve the Department of Defense's ability to carry out digital campaigns of its own.

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"We live in a digital world where the online battlefield can be as dangerous as the front lines," Cardin said. "We need to make sure our military is always ready and able to fend off continuing and relentless attacks from terrorist organizations, foreign governments, criminals and others who wish to steal, corrupt, or manipulate our critical digital and traditional infrastructure."

Officials say the step would boost Maryland's military prestige and could attract more jobs to the Fort Meade area. Cyber Command is already headquartered at the huge Army installation, but it is subordinate to Strategic Command in Nebraska.

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A similar measure passed the House last week, but it is opposed by the White House, which has described it as inappropriate meddling in the Defense Department's operations.

Cardin and Mikulski, both Democrats, were joined by two Republicans and three other Democrats in introducing the amendment.

"America is fighting a cyber war every hour of every day," Mikulski said. "Maryland is our nation's epicenter of cyber security."

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