One of the realities of modern warfare is that computers are as important as tanks. The U.S. military has created a new group, called Cyber Command, to supporting the information and communications systems of the military forces, and in extreme situations, get involved in a battle by attacking enemy networks.
Of course, this raises all kinds of concerns on the part of civil libertarians on whether that capability might be turned on civilian networks, and what if a cyber attack is routed through a neutral or even friendly nation? The rules of engagement are murky, and President Obama’s nominee to run that post had some explaining to do. eSecurity Planet details his testimony.
President Obama’s nominee to head the Pentagon’s new Cyber Command said the division would primarily focus on its defensive role at his confirmation hearing Thursday morning, downplaying the concerns that it would become a military instrument to wage cyber warfare against hostile nations.
“This command is not about efforts to militarize cyber space,” Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Today’s hearing comes nearly six months after Alexander’s nomination, delayed in part by lawmakers’ concerns about the mandate and role of the Cyber Command, which Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced last June.