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A comparison between the Cold War period and today yields an interesting perspective. During the Cold War the United States government leveraged over 90% of all telecommunications research. Today, the United States government contributes to less than 10% of telecommunications research; as a result, our government has much less influence on establishing industrial standards.
Information Warfare is a threat because it levels the international playing field (political, economic, and military), i.e. most nations cannot challenge American policy using traditional force-on-force warfare. Information Warfare is very cost effective and offers a non-attribution capability. Most importantly, the United States is the most vulnerable of all nations to IW. DoD is critically dependent upon the public switched infrastructure though it has no control over and little ability to influence security standards.
International espionage is being redirected from the individual with access to secret information toward network administrators. Nations are determined to acquire America's customer base. Industrial espionage will escalate into industrial sabotage. The Defense Information Security Agency (DISA) has proved that government networks are vulnerable. There are strong indications that an entirely new management philosophy is needed to counter 21st century spies.
Tomorrow's military will continue to stand ready to defend America against the two major regional conflict (MRC) scenario; however, it can be forced to do so with fewer resources. Economizing can be pursued through advanced Command and Control Warfare. Further, America's military will be more able to extend their global reach utilizing an offensive information warfare strategy. Tomorrow's military will prepare the theater of conflict by seizing control of all critical infrastructures utilized by the enemy. Tomorrow's enemy will only be able to communicate, finance, or logistically relocate that which our leadership allows. Our adversary will be blinded by a complete cyberfog.
Currently the Joint Chiefs of Staff have offensive and defensive groups addressing both issues. Mechanisms are currently in place and being honed to ensure that each new strategic weapon is controlled within the required release authority. However, from a defensive perspective, DoD is currently inhibited by limited authority which prohibits involvement in securing the public and corporate sector of America's critical infrastructure.
Government's authority for securing America must be expanded to protect our nation from groups that wish to influence U.S. policy through infrastructure attacks. Our nation's leadership, both political and industrial, must define a process by which government can prosecute such groups which seek to attack from outside the United States. Likewise, our leadership must equip local and federal law enforcement with effective policy focused to counter such attacks from within.
The threat posed to America's infrastructure via IW attacks is by its nature non-partisan. The threat is real and is focused against all of America. As a result, our political leaders will come to closure on this issue quickly once they are provided with adequate assessments of the threat and needs of the individual and industry. Our policy makers can be drawn back to our fore-father's belief that individual's rights are granted by God and secured by government. As a result, they will be challenged to determine the delicate balance between individual and society's rights - this will represent the heart of the debate.
The focus for change must come from Congress, however all branches must contribute. The President must direct the Executive Branch departments and agencies to provide critical information (data) for use by Congress, Industry, and the public in forming the national debate. Likewise, the Supreme Court will, as it has in the past, ensure that legislated policy does not encroach on the rights of Americans. Corporate America can be called upon to provide a realistic view of industry's security needs. This view is currently not possible as most of corporate America is either fearful of disclosing the extent of the threat, or is unaware of the intentions of its adversaries. Finally, Congress must receive a balanced view from its constituents. The people must educate themselves to the issues and voice their opinion.
There is value in looking at our nation's transition during times of great change, e.g., the industrial revolution, the Great Depression, and the nuclear threat (Cold War). During each period free enterprise provided the technical means to a solution. Likewise, during each transition, there was a new assessment of the balance of rights.
Specific Lessons from History
Information Warfare Weapons fall into the following categories: Strategic National, Strategic Theater, Operational, and Tactical. Each category has its own unique capabilities and thus requires different safety mechanisms to prevent inadvertent release. The Commander In Chief (CINC) implements the directions of the President. During the planning process the CINC can be the single person responsible for the overall campaign and will select the weapons to be used, but just as in the case of nuclear weapons, IW weaponry will require a higher level of coordination and authorization for release.
Many nations in competition with the United States, either in the political or economic realm, are actively developing IW capabilities. Such nations hope to use these capabilities to gain an industrial edge by stealing U.S. industrial secrets, and when possible, disrupt our nation's industrial base.
America has typically enjoyed a protected sanctuary provided by the two great oceans it borders. Not until Pearl Harbor and the subsequent nuclear threat did America become aware of its loss of sanctuary. With the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of the Cold War, Americans have returned to believing a protected sanctuary still exists. Cyberspace has no geographic boundaries. Further, nations are contracting the efforts of cyber-terrorists to maintain non-attribution. America's sanctuary has been lost. Our nation is under a quiet, systematically organized attack by many forces whose goal is to topple America's position as world leader.
Just as America's military transitioned into the industrial age and adopted the concept of mechanized war, so will it adapt to the concept warfare in the information age. That said, the transition will not be easy. The Army has and will always command the ground aspect of warfare. The information revolution will provide a battlefield (situational) awareness unimaginable today, and precision guided weapons will allow a greater stand-off distance from our adversary. The Navy (and Marine Corps) will continue to control the seas and provide the heavy strategic reach capability America now enjoys. Global sensory networks will ensure the U.S. Navy has the capability to track any form of naval enemy on a global basis. The Air Force and its command of the skies will continue. The ability to precision strike a hostile nation's command and control, air defense, or critical infrastructures can be just a push button away. Precision strike will place munitions on a target in ways now considered impossible.
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