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US Army cyber colonel in call to network arms

'We need to be faster than megabytes'

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The officer in charge of US Army efforts in network warfare has issued a resounding call to battle for American cyber warriors.

"We have to pick up the pace... respond, react, be proactive enough to stay out ahead of the speed of megabytes," said Colonel Wayne Parks, quoted on Govexec.com.

"There was a day when we were operating at foot speed," the Colonel told reporters yesterday. "Now we're moving at cyber speed."

Colonel Parks is director of US Army Computer Network Operations and Electronic Warfare at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. He pointed to the way in which enemies of the USA use websites and chatrooms for propaganda, and said that America's soldiers needed to be more proactive in dealing with such issues.

It seems that surveys have shown that US troops feel "ill-prepared" for the "interactive complexity" of "information operations". Parks reckons that it is critical for American forces, rather than merely reacting to enemy misinformation on the web, to get in first. Though, presumably, not with misinformation of their own.

The US Army, apparently, "continues to grope for" effective info-war tactics. In future, however, Colonel Parks reckons it will recruit a new hacker legion which will be able to both "computer network attack and computer network defend".

The US Air Force, meanwhile, which already has a Cyber Command with Network Warfare Wings up and running, is also looking to sign up America's online battlers of tomorrow. It seems that the USAF is trying to get its head round the idea of recruits who may not take kindly to aggressive haircuts, pressups in the morning, vigorous shoe-polishing regimes etc.

“Perhaps we need a different kind of warrior in this domain,” said airforce Major-General William Lord last week.

“Today, all of our armed forces have a physical fitness test that requires us to ... meet some physical fitness standards.

“How do you attract the brains of some of this crowd that you might not [normally] want ... but yet use their ... wonderful innovative ability? ... they’re not the same kind of folks that perhaps you want to march to breakfast in the morning,” he added.

The Govexec report is here. General Lord's remarks were reported in Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

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