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[FYI] U.S. Army kick-starts cyberwar machine
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- Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2000 21:16:00 +0100
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U.S. Army kick-starts cyberwar machine
by Ellen Messmer
(IDG) -- The U.S. military has a new mission: Be
ready to launch a cyberattack against potential
adversaries, some of whom are stockpiling
Such an attack would likely involve launching
massive distributed denial-of-service assaults,
unleashing crippling computer viruses or Trojans,
and jamming the enemy's computer systems through
electronic radio-frequency interference.
An order from the National Command Authority -
backed by President Clinton and Secretary of Defense
William Cohen - recently instructed the military to
gear up to wage cyberwar.
The ability of the U.S. to conduct such warfare
"doesn't exist today," according to a top Army official
speaking at a conference in Arlington, Va., last week.
"We see three emerging threats: ballistic missiles,
cyberwarfare and space control," said Lt. Gen. Edward
Anderson, deputy commander in chief at U.S. Space Command,
which was recently assigned the task of creating a
Anderson told attendees that the U.S. Space Command,
the agency in charge of satellite communications, has
begun to craft a computer network attack strategy.
This strategy would detail actions to be followed by the
Unified Commanders in Chief (CINC) if the president
and the secretary of defense order a cyber strike.
The information-warfare strategy will be detailed in a
defense plan called "OPLAN 3600" that Anderson said will
require "unprecedented cooperation with commercial enterprises
and other organizations."
There's no set deadline for completing OPLAN 3600, Anderson
told Network World. But he noted that other countries, including
Russia, Israel and China, are further along in building their
Anderson said the U.S. may end up with a new type of weaponry
for launching massive distributed denial-of-service attacks
and computer viruses. "The Chinese recently indicated they are
already moving along with this," he added.
In addition to the possibility of cybercombat between nations,
the military acknowledges that terrorists without the backing
of any country can potentially use cyberweapons to disrupt U.S.
telecommunications or banking systems that are largely electronic.
That's one reason the U.S. Space Command is joining with the FBI
to build an information-warfare strategy.
"This requires a close relationship between military and law
enforcement," said Michael Vatis, an FBI official who also spoke
at the conference. He noted that the FBI will have to help determine
if any cyberattack suffered by U.S. military or business entities
calls for a military or law enforcement response.