U.S. Military Adds New Tactics

The future of warfare will be fought, at least in part, on the Internet. To prepare for this new field of engagement, the U.S. military is distributing key cyber weapons to its regional combatant commanders. The military feels this will allow a quicker reaction to a potential attack, cyber or otherwise, and give commanders the ability to strike, not only physically, but to back up that attack with its cyber equivalent.

With the establishment of Cyber Support Elements (CSEs) at all six of the combatant commands — USNORTHCOM (North America), USPACOM (Pacific Region and Asia), USSOUTHCOM (Central and South America), USEUCOM (Europe), USCENTCOM (Middle East), USAFRICOM (Africa) — the U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) hopes to improve the integration of current cyber attack capabilities. So far, only USCENTCOM has a fully operational element, with USPACOM having a partial element and USSOUTHCOM and USAFRICOM looking to have full capabilities within six months.

This move will improve the overall readiness of U.S. troops in case of cyber attack and allow them to take the same fight back to their foes in future conflicts. The ultimate goal is to assure that commanders have full access to the full suite of cyber-assisted options, which will allow them to complete the mission. Understanding those effects and how they can help accomplish the mission are also important.

Some experts claim that the irrational actions of some of the adversaries the U.S. military faces might make it difficult to respond to, or even find threats, which would diminish any deterrence factor that might arise out of the touting of these capabilities by U.S. forces. Deterrence has served as an effective policy in other areas of national defense, such as ones dealing with nuclear threats, but they could be less of a factor when it comes to cyber warfare, since the attacks could come from literally anywhere. Only time will tell if these new weapons in the U.S. arsenal will be effective.

For more information about U.S. cyber attack defense plans, visit: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20120326/DEPARTMENTS01/203260301/