May 9th, 2009
A top US commander has warned that Washington will consider using any option even a military one against threats to the army’s computer networks.
Air Force General Kevin Chilton said cyber espionage and attacks from well-funded nations or terror groups are the biggest threats to the military’s networks.
“Our job would be to present options. I don’t think you take anything off the table when you provide options,” in the wake of an attack, whether the weapon is a missile or a computer program, said the general.
Gen. Chilton, who heads US Strategic Command, added that the Pentagon is concerned about new ways for disabling or distorting battlefield communications.
The US military is planning to set up a new cyber command at Fort Meade near Washington that would report to the Strategic Command.
The decision is a response to concerns that offensive and defensive cyber operations are currently separate, and not as coordinated as they should be.
Gen. Chilton said 2,000-4,000 more staff were needed over the next five years to provide the expertise for both offensive and defensive cyber operations.
There have been no major attacks against the military’s networks so far, only intrusions or efforts to steal data, he concluded.