• tags: cyberwar

    • The United States has no clear military policy about how the nation might respond to a cyberattack on its communications, financial or power networks, a panel of scientists and policy advisers warned Wednesday, and the country needs to clarify both its offensive capabilities and how it would respond to such attacks.
    • The authors point to a 2004 Pentagon statement on military doctrine, indicating that the United States might respond to a cyberattack with the military use of nuclear weapons in certain cases. “For example,” the Pentagon National Military Strategy statement says, “cyberattacks on U.S. commercial information systems or attacks against transportation networks may have a greater economic or psychological effect than a relatively small release of a lethal agent.”

      Pentagon and military officials confirmed that the United States reserved the option to respond in any way it chooses to punish an adversary responsible for a catastrophic cyberattack. While the options could include the use of nuclear weapons, officials said, such an extreme counterattack was hardly the most likely response.

      • The authors make that claim on page 39 of the report (http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309138507&page=39). They claim that the 2004 NMS says in “section 6.1.1” that nukes on on the table as a possible response. I have that document, and there is no “section 6.1.1.” Nor does a search of the document for references to “nuclear” or “cyber” turn up any text saying that nukes are a possible response to cyberattack. – post by TransTracker
    • Thus, the United States never declared that it would be bound to respond to a Soviet and Warsaw Pact conventional invasion with only American and NATO conventional forces. The fear of escalating to a nuclear conflict was viewed as a pillar of stability and is credited with helping deter the larger Soviet-led conventional force throughout the cold war.

      Introducing the possibility of a nuclear response to a catastrophic cyberattack would be expected to serve the same purpose.

  • Armed Forces Journal, 29 April 2009

    tags: coin, military theory

    • When it comes to fighting terrorists and counterinsurgency warfare, we have less intellectual integrity than Bernie Madoff had financial integrity. Priding ourselves on our educational credentials and career successes, we engage in comforting lies and bureaucratic superstitions so absurd that a shaman or witch doctor would only shake his head.

      We believe what we choose to believe, not what the evidence tells us. We have no time for evidence, since facts confound us damnably.

      • A grood critique of the “new conventional wisdom” of the U.S. community with regards to counterinsurgency. But the more damning critique is of patterns of thought in the defense community as an epistemic culture–i.e. a knowledge-producing culture. Sloppy thinking and lack of empirical rigor is not just a problem for COIN, but is a problem I’ve observed again and again, especially where qualitative and/or historical work is concerned. In many ways, Peters’ own recommendation for how history should be used is also an example of the kind of sloppiness that leads to the very notions he critiques. – post by TransTracker
    • Instead of dissembling by citing a few preferred case studies that we distort to our own ends, we should search for confirmatory evidence from 3,000 years of history of revolutions, insurgencies and terrorism.
      • No! This is NOT how to use history. 1) It’s unrealistic to think you can meaningfully search 3,000 years of history. 2) To try at all requires treating secondary sources as promary sources, which a common problem for military theorists. 3) The methodological presentism of reading past conflicts through the lens of modern notions of counterinsurgency is problematic at best. 4) Searching for “confirmatory” evidence is NOT valid research design. Falsification should be the goal, not confirmation. Ultimately, while Peters is correct that the defense community is often plagued by sloppy thinking, he offers us no way out of that pattern. Instead, he offers more of the same kind of sloppy thinking that leads to the kinds of ridiculous ideas that he is criticizing here! – post by TransTracker
  • tags: cyberwar

    • And he argues that if a computer owner has failed to use anti-virus software and install the latest security patches, that machine may be a legitimate military target.

      “It may, in the right circumstance, be worthwhile and even fair for the US to hit a computer that is hitting us and stop it from harming us for an hour or days when that computer owner failed to take basic steps to protect us,” Col Williamson told the programme.

      • This is unclear. It sounds like the report is saying that Williamson is suggesting that a domestic computer, taken over and made to serve in a botnet, can be a legitimate target of a military counterstrike against it. That’s problematic, to say the least! – post by TransTracker

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