The Pentagon plans to create a new military command for cyberspace, administration officials said Thursday, stepping up preparations by the armed forces to conduct both offensive and defensive computer warfare.
The military command would complement a civilian effort to be announced by President Obama on Friday that would overhaul the way the United States safeguards its computer networks.
White House officials say Mr. Obama has not yet been formally presented with the Pentagon plan. They said he would not discuss it Friday when he announced the creation of a White House office responsible for coordinating private-sector and government defenses against the thousands of cyberattacks mounted against the United States ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â largely by hackers but sometimes by foreign governments ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â every day.
But he is expected to sign a classified order in coming weeks that will create the military cybercommand, officials said. It is a recognition that the United States already has a growing number of computer weapons in its arsenal and must prepare strategies for their use ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â as a deterrent or alongside conventional weapons ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â in a wide variety of possible future conflicts.
Indeed, announcements of impending secret plans to authorize the offensive use of cyber-weapons were not forthcoming in today’s press conference. – post by TransTracker
Officials said that in addition to the unclassified strategy paper to be released by Mr. Obama on Friday, a classified set of presidential directives is expected to lay out the militaryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s new responsibilities and how it coordinates its mission with that of the N.S.A., where most of the expertise on digital warfare resides today.
So much for openness and transparency, at least on the scariest and most important part of all of this! – post by TransTracker
The decision to create a cybercommand is a major step beyond the actions taken by the Bush administration, which authorized several computer-based attacks but never resolved the question of how the government would prepare for a new era of warfare fought over digital networks.
Mr. President 2.0 going further than anyone in terms of militarizing cyberspace. But it’s OK, because he uses a Blackberry and is on Twitter! – post by TransTracker
It is still unclear whether the militaryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s new command or the N.S.A. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â or both ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â will actually conduct this new kind of offensive cyberoperations.
They’ve made it absolutely clear that they would very much like to use offensive cyber-weapons. If allowed to have them and given a whole separate command, that definitely ups the chances, no? – post by TransTracker
The White House has never said whether Mr. Obama embraces the idea that the United States should use cyberweapons, and the public announcement on Friday is expected to focus solely on defensive steps and the governmentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s acknowledgment that it needs to be better organized to face the threat from foes attacking military, government and commercial online systems.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has pushed for the Pentagon to become better organized to address the security threat.
Officials declined to describe potential offensive operations, but said they now viewed cyberspace as comparable to more traditional battlefields.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe are not comfortable discussing the question of offensive cyberoperations, but we consider cyberspace a war-fighting domain,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe need to be able to operate within that domain just like on any battlefield, which includes protecting our freedom of movement and preserving our capability to perform in that environment.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The creation of the cyberczarÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s office inside the White House appears to be part of a significant expansion of the role of the national security apparatus there. A separate group overseeing domestic security, created by President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks, now resides within the National Security Council. A senior White House official responsible for countering the proliferation of nuclear and unconventional weapons has been given broader authority. Now, cybersecurity will also rank as one of the key threats that Mr. Obama is seeking to coordinate from the White House.
All of this represents not only a broadening of the NSC’s role, but also a broadening of what is considered a “national security issue.” That category now includes theft of intellectual property–i.e. illegal movie and music downloading. – post by TransTracker