U.S. Department of Defence Unveils its new Cyber Strategy

U.S. Department of Defence Unveils its new Cyber Strategy

Today, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter unveiled the Pentagon´s new cyber-security strategy at Stanford University. This document represents a milestone and a major step forward in the cyber policy debate.

The first Pentagon´s cyber-strategy document, released in 2011, focused heavily on defense. The 2015 version clearly states that the United States "should be able to use cyber operations to disrupt an adversary´s command and control networks, military-related critical infrastructure and weapons capabilities."

It must be noted that, in October 2014, the Defense Department also published an unclassified version of its joint military doctrine for cyber-space operations - the "Joint Publication 3-12" - that includes a good discussion about offensive cyber-operations.

The 42 pages strategy outlines the three primary cyber-space missions of the U.S. Defence Department:

1. DoD must defend its own networks, systems, and information.
2. DoD must be prepared to defend the United States and its interests against cyber attacks of significant consequence.
3. If directed by the President of the Secretary of Defense, DoD must be able to provide integrated cyber capabilities to support military operations and contingency plans.

It also sets five strategy goals for cyber-space missions:
1. Build and maintain ready forces and capabilities to conduct cyberspace operations;
2. Defend the DoD information network, secure DoD data, and mitigate risks to DoD missions;
3. Be prepared to defend the U.S. homeland and U.S. vital interests from disruptive or destructive cyberattacks of significant consequence;
4. Build and maintain viable cyber options and plan to use those options to control conflict escalation and to shape the conflict environment at all stages;
5. Build and maintain robust international alliances and partnerships to deter shared threats and increase international security and stability.

In particular, this cyber-strategy is also notable for its openness about the use of offensive cyber-options.
For example, the strategy says explicitly that:

"[...] if directed by the President or the Secretary of Defense, DoD must be able to provide integrated cyber capabilities to support military operations and contingency plans. There may be times when the President or the Secretary of Defense may determine that it would be appropriate for the U.S. military to conduct cyber operations to disrupt an adversary´s military-related networks or infrastructure so that the U.S. military can protect U.S. interests in an area of operations. For example, the United States military might use cyber operations to terminate an ongoing conflict on U.S. terms, or to disrupt an adversary´s military systems to prevent the use of force against U.S. interests. United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) may also be directed to conduct cyber operations, in coordination with other U.S. government agencies as appropriate, to deter or defeat strategic threats in other domains."

And also that:

"During heightened tensions or outright hostilities, DoD must be able to provide the President with a wide range of options for managing conflict escalation. If directed, DoD should be able to use cyber operations to disrupt an adversary´s command and control networks, military-related critical infrastructure, and weapons capabilities."

The full cyber-strategy is available here:
http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2015/0415_cyber-strategy/Final_2015_DoD_CYBER_STRATEGY_for_web.pdf

giovedì 23 aprile 2015
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