U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace
06-28-2010, 04:02 AM (This post was last modified: 06-28-2010 04:56 AM by h3rm35.)
RE: U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Pentagon's Cyber Command: Civilian Infrastructure a "Legitimate" Target
When U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates launched Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) last June, the memorandum authorizing its stand-up specified it as a new "subordinate unified command" under U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), one that "must be capable of synchronizing warfighting effects across the global security environment as well as providing support to civil authorities and international partners."
As Antifascist Calling reported at the time, Gates chose Lt. General Keith Alexander, the current Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), to lead the new DOD entity. The agency would be based in Ft. Meade, Maryland, where NSA headquarters are located and the general would direct both organizations.
In that piece I pointed out that STRATCOM is the successor organization to Strategic Air Command (SAC). One of ten Unified Combatant Commands, STRATCOM's brief includes space operations (military satellites), information warfare, missile defense, global command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), as well as global strike and strategic deterrence, America's first-strike nuclear arsenal.
Designating CYBERCOM a STRATCOM branch all but guarantees an aggressive posture. As an organization that will unify all military cyber operations from various service branches under one roof, CYBERCOM will coordinate for example, Air Force development of technologies to deliver what are called "D5 effects" (deceive, deny, disrupt, degrade and destroy).
Ostensibly launched to protect military networks against malicious attacks, the command's offensive nature is underlined by its role as STRATCOM's operational cyber wing. In addition to a defensive brief to "harden" the "dot-mil" domain, the Pentagon plan calls for an offensive capacity, one that will deploy cyber weapons against imperialism's adversaries.
As a leading growth sector in the already-massive Military-Industrial-Security-Complex, the cyberwar market is hitting the corporate "sweet spot" as the Pentagon shifts resources from Cold War "legacy" weapons' systems into what are perceived as "over-the-horizon" offensive capabilities.
In association with STRATCOM, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), will hold a Cyberspace Symposium, "Ensuring Commanders' Freedom of Action in Cyberspace," May 26-27 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Chock-a-block with heavy-hitters in the defense and security world such as Lockheed Martin, HP, Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI, Cisco, CSC, General Dynamics, QinetiQ, Raytheon and the spooky MITRE Corporation, the symposium seeks to foster "innovation and collaboration between the private sector and government to delve into tough cyber issues." The shin-dig promises to "feature defense contractors and government agencies showcasing their solutions to cyberspace and cyber warfare issues."
During pro forma hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) April 15, Alexander's testimony was short on specifics, as were his written responses to "Advance Questions" submitted to the general by the SASC.
During Thursday's testimony, Alexander told the Senate panel that the command "isn't about efforts to militarize cyberspace," but rather "is about safeguarding the integrity of our military's critical information systems."
"If confirmed" Alexander averred, "I will operate within applicable laws, policies and authorities. I will also identify any gaps in doctrine, policy and law that may prevent national objectives from being fully realized or executed."
What those "national objectives" are and how they might be "executed" are not publicly spelled out, but can be inferred from a wealth of documents and statements from leading cyberwar proponents.
As we will explore below, despite hyperbole to the contrary, CYBERCOM represents long-standing Pentagon plans to militarize cyberspace as part of its so-called "Revolution in Military Affairs" and transform the internet into an offensive weapon for waging aggressive war.
"Switching Cities Off"
While we do not know how Pentagon assets will be deployed, we can be certain their destructive potential is far-reaching. We can infer however, that CYBERCOM possesses the capacity for inflicting irreparable harm and catastrophic damage on civilian infrastructure, and that power grids, hospitals, water supply systems, financial institutions, transportation hubs and telecommunications networks are exquisitely vulnerable.
The potential for catastrophic violence against cities and social life in general, has increased proportionally to our reliance on complex infrastructure. Indeed, most of the networks relied upon for sustaining social life, particularly in countries viewed as adversaries by the United States would be susceptible to such attacks.
In densely populated cities across Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Middle East, even a small number of directed attacks on critical infrastructural hubs could cause the entire network to collapse. The evidence also suggests that the Pentagon fully intends to field weapons that will do just that.
As the National Journal reported in November, in May 2007, "President Bush authorized the National Security Agency, based at Fort Meade, Md., to launch a sophisticated attack on an enemy thousands of miles away without firing a bullet or dropping a bomb."
According to investigative journalist Shane Harris, during the Iraq "surge" Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, requested and received an order from President Bush for an "NSA cyberattack on the cellular phones and computers that insurgents in Iraq were using to plan roadside bombings."
While corporate media, the Pentagon and the security grifters who stand to make billions of dollars hyping the "cyberwar threat" to gullible congressional leaders and the public, the DOD, according to Harris, "have already marshaled their forces."
Bob Gourley, who was the chief technology officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency told Harris: "We have U.S. warriors in cyberspace that are deployed overseas and are in direct contact with adversaries overseas," and that these experts already "live in adversary networks."
While the specter of a temporary "interruption of service" may haunt modern cities with blackout or gridlock, a directed attack focused on bringing down the entire system by inducing technical malfunction across the board, would transform "the vast edifices of infrastructure" according to geographer and social critic Stephen Graham, into "so much useless junk."
In his newly-published book, Cities Under Siege, Graham discusses the effects of post-Cold War U.S./NATO air bombing campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia as a monstrous instrumentality designed to inflict maximum damage and thereby coerce civilian populations into abandoning resistance to the imperialist hyperpower: the United States.
Much the same can be said of America's "stationary aircraft carrier" in the Middle East, Israel, during its murderous bombing campaign and ground invasion of Gaza during 2008-2009, which similarly targeted civilian infrastructure, reducing it to rubble.
"The effects of urban de-electrification" Graham writes, "are both more ghastly and more prosaic: the mass death of the young, the weak, the ill, and the old, over protracted periods of time and extended geographies, as water systems and sanitation collapse and water-borne diseases run rampant. No wonder such a strategy has been called a 'war on public health,' an assault which amounts to 'bomb now, die later'."
Although critics such as James Der Derian (see: Virtuous War) argue that "new forms of control and governance" are made possible by the modern surveillance state and that "the speed of interconnectivity that the computer enables has, more than any other innovation in warfare from the stirrup to gunpowder to radar to nukes, shifted the battlefield away from the geopolitical to the electromagnetic," exactly the opposite is the case.
Searching for "clean," "sanitized" modes of waging high-tech, low casualty war (for the aggressors), U.S. Cyber Command has been stood-up precisely to deliver the means that enable America's corporate and political masters to "switch cities off" at will, as a tool of economic-political domination.
In this respect, the "electromagnetic" is fully the servant of the "geopolitical," or as Guy Debord reminds us in The Society of the Spectacle: "The current destruction of the city is thus merely one more reflection of humanity's failure, thus far, to subordinate the economy to historical consciousness; of society's failure to unify itself by reappropriating the powers that have been alienated from it."
Part of that "alienation" resides in the chimerical nature of imperialism's quest for high-tech "silver bullets" to assure its continued domination of the planet, despite evidence to contrary in the form of the slow-motion meltdown and collapse of the capitalist economy. The fact is, despite the decidedly "low-tech," though highly-effective, resistance of the people of Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan, our masters will continue to pour billions of dollars into such weapons systems to stave off their "rendezvous with history."
While Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell went to great lengths last year to downplay the offensive role envisaged for Cyber Command, others within the defense bureaucracy are far more enthusiastic.
In a 2008 piece published by Armed Forces Journal, Col. Charles W. Williamson wrote that "America needs a network that can project power by building an af.mil robot network (botnet) that can direct such massive amounts of traffic to target computers that they can no longer communicate and become no more useful to our adversaries than hunks of metal and plastic. America needs the ability to carpet bomb in cyberspace to create the deterrent we lack."
Alexander's equivocal written responses were hardly comforting, nor did they blunt criticism that the Pentagon fully intends to stand-up an electromagnetic equivalent of Strategic Air Command. While promising that CYBERCOM would be "sensitive to the ripple effects from this kind of warfare," as The New York Times delicately put it, Alexander sought to blunt criticism by averring that the Pentagon "would honor the laws of war that govern traditional combat in seeking to limit the impact on civilians."
In written responses to Senate, Alexander went to great lengths to assure the SASC that military actions would comply with international laws that require conformity with principles of military necessity and proportionality.
However, as the Times pointed out, Alexander agreed with a question submitted by the Senate that "the target list would include civilian institutions and municipal infrastructure that are essential to state sovereignty and stability, including power grids, banks and financial networks, transportation and telecommunications."
During questioning by SASC Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) Thursday, how CYBERCOM would respond to an attack "through computers that are located in a neutral country," Alexander was far more ambiguous. He responded that would "complicate" matters, particularly when it came to the critical question of "attribution."
Despite matters being "complicated" by the fog of war, Alexander didn't rule out an attack on a presumably "neutral" country, even one that unwittingly serves as a "path through."
"Offensive cyber weapons" Alexander wrote, "would only be authorized under specific lawful orders by the [Defense Secretary] and the president and would normally come with supplemental rules of engagement."
While true as far as it goes (which isn't very far!) Alexander's boss, General Kevin Chilton, STRATCOM's commander suggested last year that "the White House retains the option to respond with physical force--potentially even using nuclear weapons--if a foreign entity conducts a disabling cyber attack against U.S. computer networks." (emphasis added)
According to Global Security Newswire, during a Defense Writers Group breakfast last May Chilton told journalists, "I think you don't take any response options off the table from an attack on the United States of America. Why would we constrain ourselves on how we respond?"
Chilton went on to say that "I think that's been our policy on any attack on the United States of America. And I don't see any reason to treat cyber any differently. I mean, why would we tie the president's hands? I can't. It's up to the president to decide."
Hardly comforting words.
In response to an SASC query, Alexander wrote that as Commander his duties include "executing the specified cyberspace missions" to "secure our freedom of action in cyber space."
Among other things, those duties entail "integrating cyberspace operations and synchronizing warfighting effects across the global security environment." According to it's charter, the command will "direct global information grid operations and defense" and execute "full-spectrum military cyberspace operations."
The command will serve "as the focal point for deconfliction of DOD offensive cyberspace operations;" in other words, it will coordinate and act as the final arbiter amongst the various armed branches which possess their own offensive cyber capabilities.
In the Pipeline
Contemporary military doctrine in the United States, but also in Israel, has emphasized the use of overwhelming force as a means to eradicate civilian infrastructure and break a population's resistance, what Graham has called "the systematic demodernization and immobilization of entire societies classified as adversaries."
Whether such force is applied through "traditional" means, aerial bombing preceded or followed by crippling economic sanctions as in Iraq and Palestine, or by the deployment of more "modern" means, cyberwar, state terror has as its primary target the civilian population and crafts its tactics so as to ensure maximal levels of psychological coercion.
This is fully consonant with the Pentagon's goal to transform cyberspace into an offensive military domain. In a planning document, since removed from the Air Force web site, theorists averred:
Cyberspace favors offensive operations. These operations will deny, degrade, disrupt, destroy, or deceive an adversary. Cyberspace offensive operations ensure friendly freedom of action in cyberspace while denying that same freedom to our adversaries. We will enhance our capabilities to conduct electronic systems attack, electromagnetic systems interdiction and attack, network attack, and infrastructure attack operations. Targets include the adversary's terrestrial, airborne, and space networks, electronic attack and network attack systems, and the adversary itself. As an adversary becomes more dependent on cyberspace, cyberspace offensive operations have the potential to produce greater effects. (Air Force Cyber Command, "Strategic Vision," no date, emphasis added)
U.S. campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yugoslavia and Israeli aggressive wars against Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon, demonstrate forcefully that contemporary military doctrine now strives to develop the capacity to systematically degrade, as a means of controlling through threats or actual attacks, the infrastructural "glue" that bind entire nations together. There can be no doubt that the Air Force's "Strategic Vision" is now fully integrated into CYBERCOM.
As well, with increasing reliance by the state and its military on high-tech methods of waging war for economic-political-social domination, the self-same methods are appropriated and deployed within heimat societies themselves. Hence, escalating securitization schemes (warrantless wiretapping, watch listing and indexing of "suspect" citizens) are the handmaidens of a generalized militarization of daily life.
What then, are some of the features and future weapons systems being explored by CYBERCOM and their corporate partners? The SASC as part of its confirmation process of General Alexander, has provided a useful summary, Building Cyberwarfare Capabilities in Public Documents.
If anything, the examples cited below clearly demonstrate that CYBERCOM is quietly seeing to it that the "mismatch between our technical capabilities to conduct operations and the governing laws and policies," as Alexander wrote to the SASC, for waging aggressive cyberwar will soon be resolved.
Dominant Cyber Offensive Engagement and Supporting Technology
BAA-08-04-RIKA [BAA, Broad Agency Announcement]
Agency: Department of the Air Force
Office: Air Force Materiel Command
Location: AFRL [Air Force Research Laboratory]-Rome Research Site
Posted on fbo.gov: June 13, 2008
"Solutions to basic and applied research and engineering for the problems relating to Dominant Cyber Offensive Solutions to basic and applied research and engineering for the problems relating to Dominant Cyber Offensive Engagement and Supporting Technology are sought. This includes high risk, high payoff capabilities for gaining access to any remotely located open or closed computer information systems; these systems enabling full control of a network for the purposes of information gathering and effects based operations."
"Also, we are interested in technology to provide the capability to maintain an active presence within the adversaries information infrastructure completely undetected. Of interest are any and all techniques to enable stealth and persistence capabilities on an adversaries infrastructure. This could be a combination of hardware and/or software focused development efforts. Following this, it is desired to have the capability to stealthily exfiltrate information from any remotely-located open or closed computer information systems with the possibility to discover information with previously unknown existence. Any and all techniques to enable exfiltration techniques on both fixed and mobile computing platforms are of interest. Consideration should be given to maintaining a 'low and slow' gathering paradigm in these development efforts to enable stealthy operation. Finally, this BAA's objective includes the capability to provide a variety of techniques and technologies to be able to affect computer information systems through Deceive, Deny, Disrupt, Degrade, Destroy (D5) effects."
Air Force PE 0602788F: Dominant Information Technology
FY 2011 Base Plans: "Continue development of information system access methods and development of propagation techniques. Continue development of stealth and persistence technologies. Continue development of the capability to exfiltrate information from adversary information systems for generation of actionable CybINT. Continue technology development for preparation of the battlefield and increased situational awareness and understanding. Continue development of technology to deliver D5 effects. Continue development of autonomic technologies for operating within adversary information systems. Continue development of techniques for covert communication among agents operating within adversary information systems. Continue analysis of proprietary hardware and software systems to identify viable means of access and sustained operations within the same. Continue development of a publish/subscribe architecture for exchange and exfiltration of information while operating within development of a publish/subscribe architecture for exchange and exfiltration of information while operating within adversary information systems. Initiate development of techniques to deliver PsyOps via cyber channels. Develop deception techniques to allow misdirection and confusion of adversary attempts to probe and infiltrate AF systems."
As Washington Technology reported in February, "Lockheed Martin Corp. will continue to work with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to help develop a governmentwide cybersecurity initiative under a $30.8 million contract."
That initiative, the National Cyber Range will "provide a revolutionary, safe, fully automated and instrumented environment for U.S. cybersecurity research organizations to evaluate leap-ahead research, accelerate technology transition, and enable a place for experimentation of iterative and new research directions," according to DARPA.
check the original link for supportive links
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Cyberwar and Repression: Corporatist Synergy Made in Hell
Unfailingly, defense industry boosters and corporate media acolytes promote the disturbing hypothesis annunciated by former Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, that the nation is in peril.
In a February Washington Post op-ed, the latest version of the "grave and gathering danger" big lie repeated endlessly by former President Bush during the run-up to the Iraq invasion, McConnell claims that "the United States is fighting a cyber-war today, and we are losing."
Since leaving the secret state's employ, McConnell returned to his old beltway bandit firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, as a senior vice president in charge of the company's national security business unit, a position he held after "retiring" as Director of the National Security Agency back in 1996.
Critics, including security system design experts and investigative journalists, question the alarmist drumbeat that promises to dump tens of billions of federal dollars into the coffers of firms like McConnell's.
Indeed, Washington Technology reported two weeks ago that Booz Allen Hamilton landed a $20M contract to "foster collaboration among telecommunications researchers, University of Maryland faculty members and other academic institutions to improve secure networking and telecommunications and boost information assurance."
While we're at it, let's consider the deal that L-3 Communications grabbed from the Air Force just this week. Washington Technology reports that L-3, No. 8 on that publication's "2009 Top Ten" list of federal prime contractors, "will assist the Air Forces Central Command in protecting the security of its network operations under a contract potentially worth $152 million over five years."
Or meditate on the fact that security giant Raytheon's soaring first quarter profits were due to the "U.S. military demand for surveillance equipment and new ways to prepare soldiers for wars," MarketWatch reported Thursday.
Chump-change perhaps in the wider scheme of things, considering America's nearly $800B defense budget for FY2011, but fear sells and what could be more promising for enterprising security grifters than hawking terror that comes with the threat that shadowy "asymmetric" warriors will suddenly switch everything off?
As Bloomberg News disclosed back in 2008, both Lockheed Martin and Boeing "are deploying forces and resources to a new battlefield: cyberspace."
As journalist Gopal Ratnam averred, the military contractors and the wider defense industry are "eager to capture a share of a market that may reach $11 billion in 2013," and "have formed new business units to tap increased spending to protect U.S. government computers from attack."
Linda Gooden, executive vice president of Lockheed's Information Systems & Global Services unit told Bloomberg, "The whole area of cyber is probably one of the faster-growing areas" of the U.S. budget. "It's something that we're very focused on."
Lockheed's close, long-standing ties with the National Security Agency all but guarantee a leg up for the firm as it seeks to capture a large slice of the CYBERCOM pie.
The problem with a line of reasoning that U.S. efforts are primarily concerned with defending Pentagon networks reveals a glaring fact (largely omitted from media accounts) that it is the Pentagon, and not a motley crew of hackers, cyber-criminals or "rogue states" that are setting up a formidable infrastructure for launching future high-tech war crimes.
This is clearly spelled out in the DOD's 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). In that document Pentagon planners aver that CYBERCOM "will direct the operation and defense of DOD's information networks, and will prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum cyberspace military operations. An operational USCYBERCOM will also play a leading role in helping to integrate cyber operations into operational and contingency planning."
The QDR promises to stand-up "10 space and cyberspace wings" within the Department of the Air Force that will work in tandem with Cyber Command.
Last week, Antifascist Calling reported how the mission of that Pentagon Command is primarily concerned with waging offensive operations against "adversaries" and that civilian infrastructure is viewed as a "legitimate" target for attack.
In that piece, I cited documents released by the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), publicly available, though buried within a mass of Broad Agency Announcements, that solicited bids for contracts by the various armed service branches from private defense and security corporations for the design of offensive cyber weapons.
Accordingly, the Air Force Research Laboratory-Rome issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA-10-04-RIKA) February 25, for "Full Spectrum Cyber Operations Technology" that will address issues related to "the integration and better coordination of the day-to-day defense, protection, and operation of DoD networks as well as the capability to conduct full spectrum cyberspace military operations."
The BAA explicitly states that "research efforts under this program are expected to result in functional capabilities, concepts, theory, and applications ideally addressing cyber operations problems including projects specializing in highly novel and interesting applicable technique concepts will also be considered, if deemed to be of 'breakthrough' quality and importance."
Unsurprisingly, "technical information relevant to potential submitters is contained in a classified addendum at the Secret level to this BAA."
But the military aren't the only players leading the charge towards the development of highly-destructive cyberweapons. Indeed, the Cyber Conflict Research Studies Association (CCSA), a Washington, D.C. based think tank is top-heavy with former intelligence, military and corporate officials doing just that.
The group's board of directors are flush with former officers or consultants from the FBI, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Air Force, National Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security and the CIA. Other board members are top officers in the spooky "public-private" FBI-affiliated spy outfit InfraGard, the Council on Foreign Relations as well as high-powered firms such as General Dynamics, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and Goldman Sachs.
Demonstrating the interconnected nature of domestic surveillance, repression and military cyberwar operations, CCSA's Treasurer, Robert Schmidt, is currently a member of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Council on Domestic Intelligence and the secretive Intelligence and National Security Association (INSA). Additionally, Schmidt is the President/CEO of InfraGard and "leads the operational side of private sector involvement with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's InfraGard program." How's that for a hat trick!
What that "operational side" entails has never been publicly disclosed by the organization, but as I wrote back in 2008, citing Matthew Rothschild's chilling piece in The Progressive, martial law is high on InfraGard's agenda.
Members on CCSA's board of directors, like others whirling through the revolving door between government and the private sector were/are officers or consultants to the FBI, NSA, DHS and other secret state intelligence agencies. Others were/are key advisers on the National Security Council or serve as consultants to industry-sponsored associations such as the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) and INSA.
Dovetailing with research conducted by the Pentagon and their Intelligence Community partners, one CCSA study will explore "the full spectrum of military computer network operations, defined as computer network defense (CND), computer network exploit (CNE) and computer network attack (CNA), and examines the potential synergies and tradeoffs between those three categories."
As befitting research conducted by the Military-Industrial-Security-Complex (MISC), CCSA's study "will involve key academicians, strategists, military and intelligence community leaders and operational cyber practitioners to analyze key dilemmas of doctrine, organization, training, and planning, particularly with respect to integrating cyber warfare capabilities with kinetic operations."
Key questions to be answered, among others, include "How can cyberwarfare capabilities be best integrated with other military forces?" and "How can leaders and personnel for conducting cyberwarfare be trained, educated and grown?"
Clearly, these are not academic issues.
DARPA to the Rescue
The Pentagon's "blue sky" research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is chock-a-block with programs investigating everything from Neurotechnology for Intelligence Analysts to Operationally-Focused Systems Integration (OFSI) "that align DARPA technologies with explicit opportunities for military operational impact."
Certainly, given the precarious state of the global capitalist economy, the enfeebled nature of American democratic institutions, and with no end in sight to planet-wide imperial adventures to secure access to increasingly shrinking energy reserves and other strategic resources, technological "silver bullets" are highly sought-after commodities by corporate and military bureaucracies. Such technophilic preoccupations by the MISC all but guarantee that the "state of exception" inaugurated by the 9/11 provocation will remain a permanent feature of daily life.
Several, interrelated DARPA projects feed into wider Pentagon cyberwar research conducted by the Army, Navy and Air Force.
One component of this research is DARPA's National Cyber Range (NCR). The brainchild of the agency's Strategic Technical Office (STO), NCR is conceived as "DARPA's contribution to the new federal Comprehensive National Cyber Initiative (CNCI), providing a 'test bed' to produce qualitative and quantitative assessments of the Nation's cyber research and development technologies."
While DARPA claims that it is "creating the National Cyber Range to protect and defend the nation's critical information systems," a "key vision" behind the program "is to revolutionize the state of the art of test range resource and test automation execution."
While short on specifics, DARPA's "vision of the NCR is to create a national asset for use across the federal government to test a full spectrum of cyber programs."
Many of the military programs slated for testing at NCR are highly classified, including those that fall under the purview of Pentagon Special Access or black programs. As defense analyst William M. Arkin pointed out in Code Names, such programs are hidden under the rubric of Special Technical Operations that have their own "entire separate channels of communication and clearances." STO's "exist to compartment these military versions of clandestine and covert operations involving special operations, paramilitary activity, covert action, and cyber-warfare." Arkin identified nearly three dozen cyberwar programs or exercises back in 2005; undoubtedly many more have since come online.
As Aviation Week reported in 2009, "Devices to launch and control cyber, electronic and information attacks are being tested and refined by the U.S. military and industry in preparation for moving out of the laboratory and into the warfighter's backpack."
But as "with all DARPA programs," the agency "will transition the operation of the NCR at a later date to an operational partner. No decision has been made on who will operate the final range."
Amongst the private defense, security and academic "partners" involved in NCR's development are the usual suspects: scandal-tainted BAE Systems; General Dynamics-Advanced Information Systems; Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory; Lockheed Martin; Northrop Grumman-Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems Division; Science Applications International Corporation; and SPARTA.
The aggressive nature of what has since evolved into CYBERCOM is underscored by several planning documents released by the U.S. Air Force. In a 2006 presentation to the Air Force Cyber Task Force, A Warfighting Domain: Cyberspace, Dr. Lani Kass unabashedly asserts: "Cyber is a war-fighting domain. The electromagnetic spectrum is the maneuver space. Cyber is the United States' Center of Gravity--the hub of all power and movement, upon which everything else depends. It is the Nation's neural network." Kass averred that "Cyber superiority is the prerequisite to effective operations across all strategic and operational domains--securing freedom from attack and freedom to attack."
Accordingly, she informed her Air Force audience that "Cyber favors the offensive," and that the transformation of the electromagnetic spectrum into a "warfighting domain" will be accomplished by: "Strategic Attack directly at enemy centers of gravity; Suppression of Enemy Cyber Defenses; Offensive Counter Cyber; Defensive Counter Cyber; Interdiction."
While the Pentagon and their embedded acolytes in academia, the media and amongst corporate grifters who stand to secure billions in contracts have framed CYBERCOM's launch purely as a defensive move to deter what Wired investigative journalist Ryan Singel has denounced as "Cyberarmaggedon!" hype to protect America's "cyber assets" from attack by rogue hackers, states, or free-floating terrorist practitioners of "asymmetric war," CYBERCOM's defensive brief is way down the food chain.
Indeed, "options for the Operational Command for Cyberspace" include the "scalability of force packages" and their "ease of implementation" and, as I wrote last week citing but two of the fourteen examples cited by the Senate, "research, development, and acquisition" of cyber weapons. This is attack, not defense mode.
Americans' Privacy: a Thing of the Past
Situating CYBERCOM under the dark wings of U.S. Strategic Command and the National Security Agency, is a disaster waiting to happen.
As we now know, since 2001 NSA under dubious Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) findings that are still classified, and the despicable 2008 FISA Amendments Act, the Executive Branch was handed the authority the spy on American citizens and legal residents with impunity.
During his confirmation hearing as Cyber Command chief on April 15, NSA Director Lt. General Keith Alexander sought to assure the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) that "this is not about the intent to militarize cyber-space. My main focus is on building the capacity to secure the military's operational networks."
He told the Senate panel that if called in to help protect civilian networks, both NSA and Cyber Command "will have unwavering dedication to the privacy of American citizens."
Alexander was far cagier however in his written responses in a set of Advanced Questions posed by the SASC.
While corporate media like the dutiful stenographers they are, repeated standard Pentagon boilerplate that the secret state has an "unwavering dedication" to Americans' privacy, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding answers and the release of the classified supplement.
Alexander stated in his written testimony that although "U.S. Cyber Command's mission will not include defense of the .gov and .com domains, given the integration of cyberspace into the operation of much of our critical infrastructure and the conduct of commerce and governance, it is the obligation of the Department to be prepared to provide military options to the President and SECDEF if our national security is threatened."
He also defended the statement that "DOD's mission to defend the nation 'takes primacy' over the Department of Homeland Security's role in some situations."
"Of greater concern" EPIC wrote in their brief, "may be the questions that Lt. Gen. Alexander chose to respond to in classified form. When asked if the American people are 'likely to accept deployment of classified methods of monitoring electronic communications to defend the government and critical infrastructure without explaining basic aspects of how this monitoring will be conducted and how it may affect them,' the Director acknowledged that the Department had a 'need to be transparent and communicate to the American people about our objectives to address the national security threat to our nation--the nature of the threat, our overall approach, and the roles and responsibilities of each department and agency involved--including NSA and the Department of Defense,' but then chose include that the rest of his response to that question in the 'classified supplement'."
"Most troubling of all" EPIC averred "is the classified nature of the responses to advance questions 27b) and 27c). After responding to the question of how the internet could be designed differently to provide greater inherent security by describing vague 'technological enhancements' that could enhance mobility and possibly security, Lt. Gen. Alexander responded to 'Is it practical to consider adopting those modifications?' and 'What would the impact be on privacy, both pro and con?' by referring the Senators to the 'classified supplement.' No answer to either question was provided in the public record."
But in considering these questions, perhaps the SASC should have referred to ex-spook McConnell's February Washington Post op-ed: "More specifically, we need to reengineer the Internet to make [it] more manageable. The technologies are already available from public and private sources and can be further developed if we have the will to build them into our systems and to work with our allies and trading partners so they will do the same."
Is this a great country, or what!
Posted by Antifascist at 12:28 PM
Cybersecurity Legislation Moves Forward in Congress
The Senate Homeland Security Committee voted unanimously to report favorably the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010 to the Senate at a markup session (video) on June 24th. An earlier version of the bill was introduced on June 10th and a hearing (video) was held on June 15th. The bill would establish a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security. Critics' had said that the bill would also give the President an "internet kill switch" to take over private networks. Before committee passage, the bill was amended to include limitations on the proposed Presidential powers to declare a "cybersecurity emergency" and to better define what parts of critical infrastructure are covered by the bill. For more information, see EPIC Cybersecurity and Privacy.
|Messages In This Thread|
U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace - h3rm35 - 05-29-2010, 12:29 AM
RE: U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace - yeti - 05-29-2010, 12:40 AM
RE: U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace - h3rm35 - 05-29-2010, 01:47 AM
RE: U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace - h3rm35 - 06-08-2010, 04:03 AM
RE: U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace - FastTadpole - 06-08-2010, 07:15 AM
RE: U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace - h3rm35 - 06-08-2010, 08:14 AM
RE: U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace - h3rm35 - 06-28-2010 04:02 AM
RE: U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace - h3rm35 - 06-28-2010, 11:52 AM
RE: U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace - h3rm35 - 07-17-2010, 01:18 AM
RE: U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace - h3rm35 - 10-13-2010, 09:53 PM
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