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New Strategy Against Cyberspace Attacks Unveiled

July 15, 2011

On Thursday, the Pentagon unveiled a new strategy for defending critical networks against growing threats in cyberspace.

According to a press release regarding the new strategy, over 60,000 new malicious software programs or variations are identified every day threatening security, the economy and U.S. citizens.

“In the 21st Century, bits and bytes can be as threatening as bullets and bombs,” Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said in a speech accompanying the release of the cyberspace strategy document.

“Keystrokes originating in one country can impact the other side of the globe in the blink of an eye.”

The “Department of Defense Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace” calls for the Pentagon to treat the Internet the same as it does land, air, sea and space.

“Treating cyberspace as a domain means that the military needs to operate and defend its networks, and to organize, train and equip is forces to perform cyber missions,” Lynn said at the National Defense University.

He said the motivation behind the new strategy is defensive and “it should come as no surprise that the United States is prepared to defend itself.”

“Just as our military organizes to defend against hostile acts from land, air and sea, we must also be prepared to respond to hostile acts in cyberspace,” Lynn said.

“Accordingly, the United States reserves the right, under the laws of armed conflict, to respond to serious cyber attacks with a proportional and justified military response at the time and place of our choosing,” he said.
 
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a statement that it is “critical” that the U.S. “strengthen our cyber capabilities to address the cyber threats we’re facing.

“I view this as an area in which we’re going to confront increasing threats in the future and think we have to be better prepared to deal with the growing cyber challenges that will face the nation,” Panetta said.

He said information technology has become so important to U.S. military that it “virtually guarantees that future adversaries will target our dependence on it.

“Our assessment is that cyber attacks will be a significant component of any future conflict, whether it involves major nations, rogue states, or terrorist groups,” he said.

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