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Cyberattacks Advance to Top of Terror Threat List, Defense Leaders Say

Defense officials see cyberattacks as the greatest threat to U.S. national security, a survey released Monday says.

Forty-five percent of respondents to the Defense News Leadership Poll named a cyberattack as the single greatest threat – nearly 20 percentage points above the second ranked threat: terrorism.

According to a National Journal report, the Defense News Leadership Poll, underwritten by United Technologies, surveyed 352 subscribers based on job seniority, targeting senior employees within the White House, Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry.

Last month, 70 percent of Americans called a cyberattack from another country a major threat in a Pew Research Center survey, and Defense Department officials have long warned about the increasing threat. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., called it the “largest national security threat to face the U.S. that we are not even close to being prepared to handle as a country.”

Additionally, more than half of poll respondents said that U.S. Cyber Command and the NSA should have separate leaders, but the Obama administration ruled out such a move last month, the article says. Gen. Keith Alexander has overseen both agencies since 2010, but he is expected to retire later this year. 

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