Pentagon's cybersecurity plans have a Cold War chill

Pentagon's cybersecurity plans have a Cold War chill
Pentagon's cybersecurity plans have a Cold War chill 

By David Ignatius
The Washington Post
August 26, 2010

With little fanfare, the Pentagon is putting the finishing touches on a 
new strategy that will treat cyberspace as a domain of potential warfare 
-- and apply instant "active defense" to counter attacks that, in 
theory, could shut down the nation's transportation and commerce.

Even though it deals with a distinctly 21st-century problem, the 
strategy has echoes of the Cold War: America's closest allies would be 
drawn into an early-warning network of collective cybersecurity; private 
industry would be mobilized in a kind of civil defense against 
attackers; and military commanders would be given authority to respond 
automatically to electronic invaders.

In place of "massive retaliation" against attackers whose country of 
origin may be unclear, the strategy proposes an alternative concept of 
deterrence based on making America's infrastructure robust and redundant 
enough to survive any attack. The Department of Homeland Security would 
oversee this hardening of infrastructure, with help from the National 
Security Agency.

William J. Lynn III, the deputy secretary of defense, explained the new 
approach, known as "Cyberstrategy 3.0" within the Pentagon, in an 
interview this week and in an article that appears in the new issue of 
Foreign Affairs. The formal policy should be completed by December, he 
said; meanwhile, the Pentagon's new "Cyber Command" will have 
responsibility for "active defense" starting Oct. 1.


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