|US Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn|
unveiled the Pentagon's strategy for cyberspace
© AFP/File Jewel Samad
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The Pentagon unveiled its strategy Thursday for defending critical networks and responding to growing threats in cyberspace.
"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 cyberspace as an operational domain, like 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 here.
He said the thrust of the strategy was 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.
New Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in a statement accompanying the release of the strategy document, said it is "critical" that the United States "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.
Lynn said information technology has become so important to American military operations 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.
Lynn said US military power served as a deterrent against a cyber attack from a nation state but "if a terrorist group gains disruptive or destructive cyber tools, we have to assume they will strike with little hesitation."
© AFP -- Published at Activist Post with license