Feeds

Cyber attack could bring US military response

No options removed from table

Boost IT visibility and business value

The United States' top commanding officer for the space and cyber domains told reporters last week that a cyber attack could merit a more conventional military response.

During a press briefing on Thursday, US Air Force General Kevin Chilton, who heads the US Strategic Command, said that top Pentagon advisors would not rule out a physical attack on any force that attacks the United States through the internet. Currently, the military's networks are probed thousands of times a day, but the goal of attackers seems to be espionage, not to take down critical networks, he told reporters.

"I don’t think you take anything off the table when you provide options to the president to decide," said Chilton, according to Stars and Stripes. "You don’t take any response options off the table from an attack on the United States of America. Why would we constrain ourselves on how we would respond?"

At the briefing, the top military official also argued for the Pentagon's cyber commands to be joined into a single joint command, according to The Air Force Times. Currently, the Defense Department splits the offensive and defensive cyber capabilities into two organizations: the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations (JTF-GNO) and the Joint Functional Component Commander-Network Warfare (JFCC-NW) run by the National Security Agency. The US Strategic Command would need 2,000 to 4,000 more employees to handle the mission, said Chilton, according to the Associated Press.

Following numerous attacks on Pentagon networks, with adversaries copying terabytes of military data, the United States has increased its focus on locking down its networks and formulating a military doctrine for cyberspace. Many of the attacks on US networks are launched from servers in the People's Republic of China, leading officials to blame Chinese government-funded hackers for the attacks.

In his statements to reporters, Chilton stressed that members of the US military service must begin to think of their computers as the front lines. He likened a serviceman turning on his computer with "stepping to the guard gate of his base," according to The Air Force Times report.

President Barack Obama and US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates have not decided on what type of organization the nation's military will pursue in the cyber domain. The Obama administration is currently reviewing the United State's cyber policy in a 60-day review, which is overdue.

This article originally appeared in SecurityFocus.

Copyright © 2009, SecurityFocus

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?