Pentagon gets permission to wage cyberwar; still lacks the capability

Amendment to military funding amounts to an order to (finally) build competent cybersecurity


The main problem still seems to be defining what would or wouldn't be considered an act of cyberwar and what response would be considered justified by U.S. politicians and courts, the report said.

More likely "the U.S. is not yet ready politically, intellectually, legally and structurally for an onslaught of retaliation from its global enemies," DiploNews report read.

DiploNews reached that conclusion using its sources in the State Dept. and focus on the interaction of agency bigwigs, state-department career diplomats and the power-play maneuvering of government agencies trying to increase their own stature.

Oddly, that's exactly the conclusion I came to from watching the Pentagon's dithering about how to stop rampant Chinese cyberespionage attacks, DoD's inability to formulate or launch counterattacks, reading its responses to the GAO reports that damned its poor preparation for cyberwar, defensive capability and ability to deter attack by being obviously stronger than any potential enemy.

My question at the time – which DiploNews does not answer with any firm evaluation of whether the U.S. military is up to the job of protecting this country from online threats was whether it is time for the Pentagon to turn responsibility for cyberwar over to someone else.

There has been some progress since that time, but not enough to make any answer clear.

It's possible getting permission to wage cyberwar in the NDAA will push the Pentagon over the resistance it faces internally from uniformed bureaucrats brainwashed to think they're warriors, and warriors squeezed into the role of bureaucrats, neither of which consider plinking away on a computer as being the kind of war they really want to sink their teeth into. (Here's a hint that cyberwar is significant enough for Rambo: When a potential enemy can own your spacecraft in orbit, it's time to learn how to operate in that theater.)

Maybe it is time to give the job to someone else.

Maybe the NSA, which seems pretty effective but won't say so specifically.

Photo Credit: 

Reuters/Rick Wilking

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