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Pentagon has bold plan for digital warfare

Pentagon officials are making plans for a new cyberwarfare strategic command, but the plans still await final details and approval.

In a move similar to President Obama's promise to appoint a cyber czar, the Pentagon intends to create a new military command specifically dedicated to computer warfare operations. This initiative, announced by administration officials on the 28th of May, would be a complement to the civilian "cyber security" initiatives announced the very next day.

This new plan is a response to a number of criticisms and admitted failings of current Department of Defense policies regarding digital warfare. Among the milder criticisms are statements that offensive and defensive operations are segregated and poorly coördinated (if they are coördinated at all). Stepping up the scale of the seriousness of charges of poor policy development and implementation a bit, we find my own earlier article, China chooses FreeBSD as basis for secure OS, which points out areas where China may be moving well ahead of the US military in terms of defensibility. The critiques get more serious from there in discussion of that article, culminating in the following statement from TechRepublic community member pacomj60:

In 1979 I commanded the first USAF cyber team which we called the Red Team. We went after our own systems and everything said today about Vulnerabilities we knew then. No one read the reports.

Criticism doesn't get much more scathing that the kind of demonstration of indifference embodied in the sentence "No one read the reports." It seems things may have turned around, judging by the establishment of a new cyberwarfare command in Fort Meade, MD.

Air Force General Kevin Chilton, commander of the US Strategic Command, said the new cyberwarfare command would require two to four thousand personnel over the next five years. They're still working out the budgeting details.

The plan hasn't been presented to President Obama in full yet, according to the New York Times, and according to the AP story in Slate, Defense Secretary Gates has not yet given final approval for the plan.

About

Chad Perrin is an IT consultant, developer, and freelance professional writer. He holds both Microsoft and CompTIA certifications and is a graduate of two IT industry trade schools.

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