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Excerpt: "The Pentagon released a long-promised cybersecurity plan Thursday that declares the Internet a domain of war.... The Defense Department's first-ever plan for cyberspace calls on the department to expand its ability to thwart attacks from other nations and groups, beef up its cyber-workforce and expand collaboration with the private sector."

Cyber warfare. (photo: ACUS)
Cyber warfare. (photo: ACUS)



Pentagon Declares the Internet a War Domain

By John T. Bennett, The Hill

14 July 11

 

he Pentagon released a long-promised cybersecurity plan Thursday that declares the Internet a domain of war.

The plan notably does not spell out how the US military would use the Web for offensive strikes, however.

The Defense Department's first-ever plan for cyberspace calls on the department to expand its ability to thwart attacks from other nations and groups, beef up its cyber-workforce and expand collaboration with the private sector.

Like major corporations and the rest of the federal government, the military "depends on cyberspace to function," the DoD plan says. The US military uses cyberspace for everything from carrying out military operations to sharing intelligence data internally to managing personnel.

"The department and the nation have vulnerabilities in cyberspace," the document states. "Our reliance on cyberspace stands in stark contrast to the inadequacy of our cybersecurity."

Other nations "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," the plan states. "Moreover, non-state actors increasingly threaten to penetrate and disrupt DoD networks and systems."

Groups are capable of this largely because "small-scale technologies" that have "an impact disproportionate to their size" are relatively inexpensive and readily available.

The Pentagon plans to focus heavily on three areas under the new strategy: the theft or exploitation of data; attempts to deny or disrupt access to US military networks; and attempts to "destroy or degrade networks or connected systems."

One problem highlighted in the strategy is a baked-in threat: "The majority of information technology products used in the United States are manufactured and assembled overseas."

DoD laid out a multi-pronged approach to address those issues.

As foreshadowed by Pentagon officials' comments in recent years, the plan etches in stone that cyberspace is now an "operational domain" for the military, just as land, air, sea and space have been for decades.

"This allows DoD to organize, train and equip for cyberspace" as in those other areas, the plan states. It also notes the 2010 establishment of US Cyber Command to oversee all DoD work in the cyber-realm.

The second leg of the plan is to employ new defensive ways of operating in cyberspace, first by enhancing the DoD's "cyber hygiene." That term covers ensuring that data on military networks remains secure, using the Internet wisely and designing systems and networks to guard against cyberstrikes.

The military will continue its "active cyber defense" approach of "using sensors, software, and intelligence to detect and stop malicious activity before it can affect DoD networks and systems." It also will look for new "approaches and paradigms" that will include "development and integration … of mobile media and secure cloud computing."

The plan underscores efforts long under way at the Pentagon to work with other government agencies and the private sector. It also says the Pentagon will continue strong cyber R&D spending, even in a time of declining national security budgets.

Notably, the plan calls the Department of Homeland Security the lead for "interagency efforts to identify and mitigate cyber vulnerabilities in the nation's critical infrastructure." Some experts have warned against DoD overstepping on domestic cyber-matters.

The Pentagon also announced a new pilot program with industry designed to encourage companies to "voluntarily [opt] into increased sharing of information about malicious or unauthorized cyber activity."

The strategy calls for a larger DoD cyber-workforce.

One challenge, Pentagon experts say, will be attracting top IT talent because the private sector can pay much larger salaries — especially in times of shrinking Defense budgets. To that end, "DoD will focus on the establishment of dynamic programs to attract talent early," the plan states.

On IT acquisition, the plan lays out several changes, including faster delivery of systems; moving to incremental development and upgrading instead of waiting to buy "large, complex systems"; and improved security measures.

Finally, the strategy states an intention to work more closely with "small- and medium-sized business" and "entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and other US technology innovation hubs."

The reaction from Capitol Hill in the immediate wake of the plan's unveiling was mostly muted. Cybersecurity is not a polarizing political issue in the way some defense issues are, like missile defense.

Claude Chafin, a spokesman for House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), called the strategy "the next step in an important national conversation on securing critical systems and information, one that the Armed Services Committee has been having for some time."

That panel already has set up its own cybersecurity task force, which Chafin said would "consider this [DOD] plan in its sweeping review of America's ability to defend against cyber attacks."

As the Pentagon tweaks its approaches to cybersecurity, Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday wrote Senate leaders saying that chamber must as well. McCain asked Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to establish a temporary Select Committee on Cyber Security and Electronic Intelligence Leaks.

"Cybersecurity proposals have been put forth by numerous Senate committees, the White House and various government agencies; however, the Senate has yet to coalesce around one comprehensive proposal that adequately addresses the government-wide threats we face," McCain's office said in a statement. "A select committee would be capable of drafting comprehensive cybersecurity legislation quickly without needing to work through numerous and in some cases competing committees of jurisdiction."

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+27 # Activista 2011-07-14 20:27
One scenario - Google can map IP Address to longitude/latitude.
Do not like other view? Send there drone/bombs and kill everybody.
This could be happening already ...
All these "control centers" in Libya - 1200+ killed by NACO bombs and counting.
 
 
-7 # lol 2011-07-15 11:43
http://www.whatismyip.com/tools/ip-address-lookup.asp

you have been able to locate based on ip for awhile, in any case this isnt pointed at people downloading music its pointed at people intruding on govt. systems. while i dont agree with any intrusion to my internetz other governments are way ahead of the us when it comes to the realm of the Internet. and they NEED to come into the 21st century in this regard, hell maybe it will even make the big wigs understand what we fight for, but im not holding my breath. But we can not criticize them for being so far in the past, and criticize them when they finally start an effort. in any case the pentagon doesn't give a shit about anyones systems other then their own, everything written here only applies to DoD. while this may hinder further leaks thats what not an inherently bad thing, think of it this way, how many of you are happy that lamo leaked info on manning, i know im not, but the same principles can be applied, not every move the government makes is inherently evil and aimed at keeping us down.
 
 
+4 # Facy 2011-07-16 03:41
That is why the CIA keeps an eye on Facebook, right?
 
 
+4 # billy bob 2011-07-16 19:49
The CIA keeps an eye on Facebook, because it's a web site devoted to people reporting about themselves, just exactly what the CIA wants to know. The CIA has saved so much time on all the wiretapping they do to every American household, simply because many are so naïve that they willingly report the most intimate details about their every thought and action without regard to what it might mean for all that information to still be used against them 30 or 40 years from now.

The Onion did an article joking that Facebook was originated by the CIA itself.

Some times I wonder if the Onion wasn't accidentally revealing the truth.
 
 
+40 # DaveM 2011-07-14 22:04
I suppose this means the military will be coming around to launch "surgical strikes" on kids downloading music. Can't wait to see all of the imaginary "terrorists" this will produce.

You know what this is? It's a back door to the government taking over the Internet, something which, if I recall correctly, is frowned on when other countries do it and implement an on/off switch.
 
 
+21 # Glen 2011-07-15 05:09
If the back door is all that's left, they will use it. The front door has been tried with much protest. Use the military as a cover or "national security" and even windows will accommodate entry.
 
 
+25 # billy bob 2011-07-14 23:47
We've known for years that the Pentagon was openly hiring trolls to pester liberal web sites. They've openly said so. If you remind any conservative of this you'll get plastered with that old conservative cliché, "conspiracy theorist".

In other words, REMEMBER THIS ARTICLE. It will be useful to recall in a few years, when this becomes "just another conspiracy theory" to add to the list of facts conservatives don't remember because they don't fit into their narrative.
 
 
+33 # betsaez 2011-07-15 03:31
Not necessary to read all. Actually the threat is there but I'm convinced that the target are civilians' protests all around the world, to silence our cry for freedom and democracy, our claims on Human Rights and the need of another way to make economics. Also to prevent us spreading info from Krugman, Stiglitz and so many others. They DO NOT want us to be well informed and well connected. This is the revolt (war they call it) they want to prevent.
 
 
+16 # wellington 2011-07-15 06:51
I think so.
U.S. will be a new Cuba, no one enter, no one leaves...
I mean no information enter the country, I mean no information enter the country, no one leaves from the country...
This is the path to totalitarianism...
No civilian talks, only Government talks...
The press will be muzzled?
Web will it be strictly watched by soldiers and his dogs like trains in II World War by germans?
 
 
+8 # MEBrowning 2011-07-15 09:05
The press has already been muzzled for quite some time.
 
 
+15 # Capn Canard 2011-07-15 06:13
Haven't they been trying to do this for quite some time? It seems this release by the DoD is just meant to legitimize the coming crackdown on all those who oppose US foreign policy. I think we can expect more people will be put in solitary.
 
 
+18 # futhark 2011-07-15 06:17
Of course the Internet is a "War Zone"! So is broadcast news! Look at all the pro-war propaganda constantly fed to the American public by Faux News and CNN! This is the real choke-point for controlling government policy and having it directed in such a way as to maintain the plutocratic stranglehold on resources. Perception is everything! Demonize certain people or points of view and a bloodthirsty people will go bonkers demanding military action.

The Internet is an especially grave threat to the Plutocrats because they have yet to discover effective ways of controlling the content while still giving a simulacrum of the "freedom" for which our designated enemies hate us and for which we are supposed to fight.
 
 
+10 # qasee 2011-07-15 07:31
"Big Brother" is watching....
 
 
+12 # mscw42 2011-07-15 07:38
Does this mean Murdoch can be tried as a war criminal?
 
 
+12 # Stephen Pitt 2011-07-15 08:55
Then perhaps the Pentagon has declared war on our turf without thinking. Again.

That will be resisted. Duh! Already, there are very likely more Mannings and Assanges at work, preemptively compromising such a threat by *any* government to *our* Internet. They don't seem to get it yet.

Once again, the brightest do not work for government. Just a friendly advisement for our robotic boys and girls of the police state.
 
 
+10 # michele6933 2011-07-15 08:56
Anyone who owns a computer or a Smart Phone is now suspect .
Welcome to the Hotel California...No one leaves . Or was it Hell, Easy to enter, Impossible to exit . We're all prisoners of our own inventions .
 
 
+7 # Activista 2011-07-15 09:27
Real example - to censor the Arab Spring and activists - Palestinians on Facebook etc.
"Israel had tracked the activists on SOCIAL MEDIA SITES, compiled a BLACKLIST of more than 300 names and asked airlines to keep those on the list off flights to Israel. On Friday, 310 of the activists who managed to land in Tel Aviv were detained for questioning, said Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad"
 
 
+12 # DesignCreature 2011-07-15 10:49
Be afraid. Be REAL afraid. No more true words were spoken by the Bush Admin and now carried over by our changer and hoper government. Well, folks, I AM afraid. Mission accomplished.
 
 
+8 # drush 2011-07-16 10:27
They have been doing this already, this declaration just means military can be more in all our faces, cruder, ruder, more heavy handed. If that is possible. I am afraid it is possible. When you see the shadow of the drone it is too late.
We went into Iraq saying we didn't want to wait for the atomic mushroom could.
another war. on information
First the war on poverty. More poverty
Then the war on drugs. More drugs
war on terrorism. more terrorism
No child left behind. everyone left behind especially children
War or information. Will we get darkness.
I may have missed some other wars.
 
 
+2 # Activista 2011-07-16 22:14
we live in Orwellian times. We are wining in Afghanistan, won democracy for Iraqi people, defied Libyans as NACO rebels.
Protecting Libya civilians is NATO killing 1200 in Libya.
 
 
0 # shortonfaith 2011-07-17 22:51
"expand collaboration with the private sector." That about says it all. We'll all be working from prison real soon now. At least we'll get free medical. And I don't believe the Iraqi people will be getting democracy. We don't have democracy here so, what makes you think they'll let something like that into Iraqi?
 
 
+2 # Magars 2011-07-18 13:35
The new book from Jesse Ventura "63 Documents the government doesn't want you to read" explains a lot.His book is all based on documents.He invite us to read again "1984" to find out that something that long time ago, few people thought was impossible to happen, is happening in USA.Like Activista says, we live in Orwellian times.The worst of this reality is that most of Americans didn't get it yet
 

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