Simulation of Internet is latest DoD effort to practice fighting cyberwar

Despite years of prep, U.S. military seems no more capable of cyber-defense than ever

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Would Seal Team 6 have been sufficiently prepared to assault Osama Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan if they'd practiced in buildings that looked like Osama's, but were defended by toddlers with squirt guns?

(It's not true, by the way, that the entire U.S. cyber-defense plan depends on a pre-emptive raid by Seal Team 6, which will move once it figures out where the Internet's secret compound is and whether there's room outside for it to land its stealth helicopters.)

Online the U.S. military barely even knows what rules it's supposed to follow, let alone those the bad guys are likely to break.

Even the defense contractors getting the big money to build and run the Cyber Range and other programs aren't paying that much attention. They're spending more time acquiring new cybersecurity companies than on developing new techniques or defensive system, according to Defense Industry Daily.

The DoD will spend $2.3 billion on cybersecurity during FY 2012, mostly through the new U.S. Cyber Command at Ft. Meade, Md., which is supposed to take point on the defense.

It's not the only military entity working on cyberwar, though. The Cyber Range is DARPA's baby; the Air Force wants almost $1 billion for cybersecurity funding; the army wants three quarters of a billion; the navy wants $600 million.

Most of the spending will go to traditional IT security programs, according to DID. That may plug some holes, but will mainly create better-funded systems just as insecure as they are now.

Between that kind of backfilling, delays that have kept the CyberRange offline until now even though it was approved in 2007 and 2008, and the focus of defense contractors on consolidating their part of the cyberwar market, you can bet the U.S. isn't going to be any more ready for cyberwar a year from now than it was a year ago.

The whole cybersecurity sector of DARPA and DoD will be better funded, better organized and far better equipped when they're penetrated and destroyed by 12-year-olds from Uzbekistan, however.

We can all feel better about that.

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