One if by Land, Two if by Sea and Three if by Cyberspace

Monday, July 18, 2011
America’s military is expected to defend the country regardless of the direction of attack, whether it is by land, air, sea, outer space or cyberspace. And like the War on Terror that never ends, this is a battlefield that is never abandoned.
Officials at the Department of Defense released this week their first-ever plan for addressing cyber security threats, now that the Internet has been deemed an “operational domain.” To do this the military promises to expand its ability to thwart hackers from other nations and organizations, bolster its corps of cyber warriors and work more closely with the private sector.
The report notes that foreign powers “are working to exploit DOD unclassified and classified networks, and some foreign intelligence organizations have already acquired the capacity to disrupt elements of DOD’s information infrastructure.”
It also says “non-state actors increasingly threaten to penetrate and disrupt DOD networks and systems.” Groups can be especially frustrating because it takes very little in terms of resources and size to cause large-scale troubles for the Pentagon’s IT systems.
Three areas will be focused on by Defense leaders: The stealing or exploiting of computer data; efforts to deny or disrupt access to U.S. military networks; and any attempts to “destroy or degrade networks or connected systems.”
For now, the Pentagon is taking a low-key public approach to “cyber war,” opting for cooperative strategies of “cyber hygiene” and data sharing rather than confrontational poses. And, in fact, last year White House Cyber Czar Howard Schmidt denied there was any such thing as cyber war. “I think that is a terrible metaphor and I think that is a terrible concept,” Schmidt said. “There are no winners in that environment.”
And while the new Pentagon report only uses the word “war” once, in reference to its promotion of “war games and exercises,” there are Pentagon officials behind the scenes who have a much more muscular attitude toward the issue, as reflected by Daniel Gouré of the conservative, defense-oriented Lexington Institute think tank:
“Cyberwar is already a reality. . . . The publication of the cyberwar strategy may also help jumpstart a long-postponed public debate over the nature of such a war.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Ken Broder
Pentagon Declares the Internet a War Domain (by John T. Bennett, The Hill)

White House Cyber Czar: ‘There Is No Cyberwar’ (by Ryan Singel, Wired)


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