News / USA

Pentagon Prepares Cyber Warfare Strategy

Al Pessin

The Pentagon is expected to issue its cyber warfare strategy in the next few weeks, providing more detail about possible U.S. responses to attacks on key computer systems.  

Two weeks ago, the White House released its International Strategy for Cyberspace, which, among other things, declares that the United States will use “all necessary means” to defend its vital cyber assets. The strategy says the United States “will respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as [it] would to any other threat,” including specifically reserving the right to respond with military action.

Pentagon Spokesman Colonel David Lapan repeated that view on Tuesday. “A response to a cyber incident or attack on the U.S. would not necessarily be a cyber response.  So, all appropriate options would be on the table if we were attacked via cyber," he said.

The White House strategy was not a surprise, culminating a long effort to officially identify computer networks as a vital national interest, which, if attacked electronically, could result in a retaliatory strike.

Now the Pentagon is working on a follow-up document to lay out its role in implementing the White House strategy.  Colonel Lapan declined to provide details Tuesday, but said the document will likely not provide specific consequences for specific types of attacks. “If we are attacked, we reserve the right to do any number of things in response, just like we do now with kinetic attacks.  Military option is always a resort.  There are other things we could do," he said. "But it won’t necessarily lay out, ‘if this happens, then this will happen.' ”

Lapan says a more general statement asserting the right to retaliate by a variety of means is likely a better deterrent to any potential attackers.

Former senior U.S. defense official Daniel Gallington, now at the Potomac Institute, says Pentagon strategy documents are usually more about capabilities than specific actions. “The Pentagon doesn’t decide when we go to war.  And the Pentagon doesn’t decide these policy questions.  The Pentagon is the doer.  They are the ones who take action when they are directed by competent political authority and the command structure.  The Pentagon is in the training and equipping business.  And what they do is, they have to anticipate the kind of capabilities that they’re going to need to have in the future for future conflicts," he said.

Documents like the Pentagon cyber strategy serve to provide direction to the military services, combat commands and defense agencies so they can develop specific plans, and seek the funding and authorization to develop specific capabilities.

Gallington says he hopes the document includes a variety of capabilities designed to prepare the U.S. military to respond to serious and minor cyber attacks, and everything in-between, using both military and electronic means.  That would provide a full range of options for a president faced with a decision about how to respond to a cyber attack.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid