John Arquilla: Go on the Cyberoffensive

John Arquilla: Go on the Cyberoffensive
John Arquilla: Go on the Cyberoffensive 

By Noah Shachtman  
Wired Magazine 17.10

The Pentagon already employs legions of elite hackers trained in 
cyberwarfare. But they mostly play defense, and that's what Naval 
Postgraduate School professor John Arquilla wants to change. He'd like 
the US military's coders to team up with network specialists abroad to 
form a global geek squad. Together, they could launch preemptive online 
strikes to head off real-world battles.

Armies (even guerrilla armies) are so dependent on digital 
communications these days that a well-placed network hit could hobble 
their forces. Do these cyberattacks right.and openly.and the 
belligerents will think twice before starting trouble. Arquilla calls 
his plan "a nonlethal way to deter lethal conflict."

Sure, it's risky. A misinterpreted or misattributed attack could inflame 
tensions. Or you might fritz the good guys and civilians by mistake. But 
Arquilla says this "kinder, gentler deterrence" is better than 
threatening to strangle an adversary's economy or reduce its cities to 
radioactive cinders. Here are three scenarios in which preemptive 
cyberattacks could prevent bloodshed.

1.)Scenario: Defusing South Asia
Situation: Pakistan and India are massing armies on their shared border.
Solution: Take out the command-and-control networks on both sides before 
these nuclear-armed foes can go to war for a fifth time. In the 1951 
film The Day the Earth Stood Still, Arquilla notes, a benevolent alien 
shuts down the machines of Earth's superpowers before they can spread 
nukes to other planets. Here, US- led hackers play the ET role to put 
the conflict on ice.


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