New Pentagon cyber strategy to discuss nation’s offensive capabilities

The Baltimore Sun, By Ian Duncan, April 23

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter will lay out the military’s new strategy for fighting battles over computer networks Thursday, today, officials said, revealing what analysts say appears be a tougher, more offensive approach to cyber warfare.

It’s the first major update to the Pentagon’s cyber strategy in four years, a period during which American businesses have suffered major attacks, including the assault late last year on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The document, to be unveiled as Carter delivers a speech at Stanford University, includes descriptions of ways the military can use computers in all stages of a conflict, according to a summary provided by defense officials Wednesday — a sign that the department is opening up about its offensive capabilities.

The Defense Department has been bolstering those capabilities in recent years, establishing a new command at Fort Meade and training thousands of military and civilian personnel in cyber warfare.

Analysts said the new strategy effectively acknowledges what has long been an open secret: The military is not merely interested in defending its own computers, but wants to attack those controlled by its adversaries.

“This is a declaration that we’re going to view offensive cyber capabilities as a major tool in our arsenal,” said Richard Forno, the director of the graduate cybersecurity program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.


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