Pentagon to Consider Cyberattacks Acts of War

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Johnny Oxygen
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Pentagon to Consider Cyberattacks Acts of War

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/01/us/politics/01cyber.html?_r=2&ref=todayspaper&om_rid=DT6vbd&om_mid=_BN5jDxB8beoPLW

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon, trying to create a formal strategy to deter cyberattacks on the United States, plans to issue a new strategy soon declaring that a computer attack from a foreign nation can be considered an act of war that may result in a military response.

...The new military strategy, which emerged from several years of debate modeled on the 1950s effort in Washington to come up with a plan for deterring nuclear attacks, makes explicit that a cyberattack could be considered equivalent to a more traditional act of war. The Pentagon is declaring that any computer attack that threatens widespread civilian casualties — for example, by cutting off power supplies or bringing down hospitals and emergency-responder networks — could be treated as an act of aggression.

...In May 2009, four months after President Obama took office, the head of the United States Strategic Command, Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, told reporters that in the event of a cyberattack “the law of armed conflict will apply,” and warned that “I don’t think you take anything off the table” in considering a response. “Why would we constrain ourselves?” he asked, according to an article about his comments that appeared in Stars and Stripes.

...“One of the questions we have to ask is, How do we know we’re at war?” one former Pentagon official said. “How do we know when it’s a hacker and when it’s the People’s Liberation Army?”

...The Pentagon strategy is coming out at a moment when billions of dollars are up for grabs among federal agencies working on cyber-related issues, including the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Each has been told by the White House to come up with approaches that fit the international cyberstrategy that the White House published in May.

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