By Noah Shachtman
December 12, 2007
Pentagon types are spending God-knows-how-much to wage battle online.
Brave New War  author John Robb  offers 'em some tips on how to
put their dough to the best use  .
Over the few years, the Defense Department has morphed the nuclear
weaponeers of U.S. Strategic Command  into network warriors, and
turned the 8th Air Force into a new "Cyberspace Command." Not to
mention plowing countless billions into the National Security Agency 
and all kinds of digital combat cadres , scattered throughout the
armed services. And from the interviews I've done, at least, the roles
and expectations for each of these agencies is, um, evolving, at best.
Robb's advice, to his former Air Force colleagues now putting Cyberspace
* Real-world experience and rapid (open source) innovation. Most, if not
all, of this experience and innovation in cyberwarfare is gained
through criminal activity. Innovation is a product of rapid cycles of
competition with software vendors and computer security companies.
* Massive self-replication. Think in term of small teams (the smarter,
the better) designing software that seizes control of tens of millions
of computer systems through various forms of infection.
* Deniability. Nearly all of the successful operations conducted in
offensive cyberwarfare will require deniability. Post-attack forensics
must not point back to a government since these wars/battles will be
fought in peacetime.
"Given these requirements, Robb believes, "this new Command will likely
fail (and badly)." It'll create public relations disasters -- and
retreat into a largely defensive crouch. And once it does, it'll be
outmaneuvered by countries willing to get in bed with online mafias.
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