The Pentagon this week delayed and may kill the Air Force’s nascent Cyberspace Command, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press. This comes as Russia used a major computer network attack to begin its assault on Georgia.
The Russian computer takedown served the same purpose as a traditional air attack on enemy radars and communications antennae, said Michael Wynne, the former U.S. Air Force Secretary who made cyberwar a central mission of the Air Force.
“The Russians just shot down the government command nets so they could cover their incursion,” said Wynne. “This was really one of the first aspects of a coordinated military action that had cyber as a lead force, instead of sending in air planes. We need to figure out a way not only see the attack coming but to block it, and in blocking it chase it home.”
“I think this is a very poor time to send a signal that the United States is not interested in focusing on warfighting in the cyber domain,” Wynne added.
If Wynne is correct about what the Russians were able to do, then I might have to agree that now is a bad time to not be serious about cyberwar capabilities. Though, I have been critical in the past of the Air Force’s technology-centered approach to cyberwar. – post by TransTracker
Wynne was fired by Defense Secretary Robert Gates earlier this year after the Air Force’s mishandling of nuclear weapons. Wynne, however, told reporters he was fired over differences with Gates on the need for additional F-22 fighter jets, among other matters.
I agree. I wasn’t nukes, it was F-22s that got Wynne fired. – post by TransTracker
Russia’s use of computer tools to blind Georgia may not be the first time it has flexed its cyber powers for geopolitical purposes. In the spring of 2007, Estonian government, financial and media Web sites were incapacitated by a massive denial of service attack for which many in that country blamed Russia. The attack, involving a million computers in 75 countries, coincided with controversy over Estonia’s plans to relocate a Soviet-era war memorial.