" Aggression Needed" says Israeli USAF Advisor

Washington, DC, Jan. 11th, 2008 -- The USAF, desperately seeking a role in the post-nuclear Cold War has begun thumping it's chest and demanding it be allowed to attack first in the area of Cyber Space.

The Pentagon's network warriors have traditionally focused on defense. Not any more. From Wired and the Blogs:

There's been a "radical change in U.S. policy when it comes to its cyber warfighting stance," according to Inside the Air Force. A few months back, Pentagon officials were saying that "the military had no plans to shift its cyber warfare focus from a defensive mindset to an offensive one." But now that the Air Force has declared themselves the service in charge of all things electronic, "high-ranking service officials say they are developing offensive strategies to attack enemies’ cyber assets."

“Cyber, as a warfighting domain . . . like air, favors the offense,” said Lani Kass, director of the Air Force’s Cyberspace Task Force, while presenting the elements of the National Military Strategy for Cyberspace Operations (NMSCO) last week. This is first time the Air Force formally acknowledged it has plans to take an offensive approach to cyberwarfare. [Although there have been plenty of informal acknowledgments, by the flyboys and others. -- ed.]

The NMSCO makes it the official doctrine of the United States military to bring the fight to the enemy, to constantly be on the offensive when it comes to the cyber domain, said Kass during a Sept. 26 presentation at an Air Force Association-sponsored conference in Washington...

On Oct. 3, the Senate authorized up to $4 million be made available for the Cyberspace Innovation Center for Cyber Combat Development.

In the wake of several Chinese probes into the Defense Department's non-classified computer and communications network, known as the NIPRNET, as well as German and British defense networks, the Air Force has made it clear it feels that, to fight effectively in cyberspace, a military must be on the offensive.

“If you’re defending in cyber, you’re already too late. Cyber delivers on the original promise of air power,” said Kass. “If you don’t dominate in cyber, you cannot dominate in other domains. If you’re a developed country, you can’t conduct daily life [after a large scale cyber attack], your life comes to a screeching halt.

What Ms. Kass does not realize is that any aggression on the part of the United States Air Force will result in crippling retaliation, from around the world, including from home grown sympathizers. What works in Israel does not work in the mighty complex cyber space we know as the United States. To understand what damage may result unless the USAF attack is 100% effective look at the vulnerability of The Stock Market, and Wall Street as good examples.

The USAF may want the Cyber Turf in the Pentagon and want to grab secret funds, rumored at over $7 Billion. But it is, in military cyber offensive terms a serious error, along with the same rhetoric to invade Iraq from Wolfowitz, Pearle and Leith. The United States have everything to lose, and nothing to gain by moving on to the publicly stated offensive with CyberWar.

Harden the military networks to attack, but before more Israeli Hawks turn their US Employers into aggressive Hawks too, look at the risks and the consequences AFTER the attack. That's how we got into the mess in Iraq! If we had Balkanized the US Networks and, like China, could isolate ourselves from attacks then I would agree that a military operation commanding tens of thousands of high powered computers around the world would be a smart idea. But so far we have a handful of dreaming Academics, lowest bidder computers, and far too much to lose by initiating a Cyber War.

The US Air Force can muster a few thousand low bid computers to fight it's Cyber Offensive. The Chinese, with a population of over a billion people can order a "Little Red Computer" attack out of all proportions to anything the US can envisage. Those of us who remembered the "Little Red Book" get the message. Most of our PC's, or their component parts are made in China. By the stroke of the pen the Chinese Government can begin rolling off offensive PC's filled with hacker software at the same rate the US rolled off Fighters, Bombers, and Tanks in World War II. Those were the days when America had a manufacturing base, before greedy Capitalists moved it all to China. If China feels that the USAF poses a threat it can escalate Cyber War capability far beyond what the the United States can match on a level playing field, and in a pretty short time. And don't forget Russia.

And to argue against Ms. Kass, Cyber War favors the weakest in resources to attack, not whoever launches the attack. Cyber war is in many ways like Infantry Warfare, 100,000 troops with AK47's will beat 1,000 troops with the most modern laser sighted rifle. As I pointed out at the UN in the late 1990's China is building a Cyber Wall around itself, and like the shields on Star Trek, can fire it's weapons whilst protecting itself from attack. America is vulnerable, and somewhat ill advised in threatening to go on the offensive.

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