The debate centers around the development of U.S. offensive capabilities on the Internet:
"The Defense Department has redundant systems in place to defend its network against cyberattacks, but in the past year it has started to push development of offensive information warfare capabilities. If "we apply the principle of warfare to the cyber domain, as we do to sea, air and land, we realize the defense of the nation is better served by capabilities enabling us to take the fight to our adversaries, when necessary, to deter actions detrimental to our interests," Marine Gen. James Cartwright, commander of the Strategic Command, told the House Armed Services Committee in March."While the potential disruption from online attacks requires both defensive and offensive capabilities, there is a critical component missing in the debate - intelligence capabilities. It will be vital to build better intelligence and investigative capabilities in order to properly identify intrusion sources and motives. It is too easy to mask the source of an attack and any mis-directed counter-attack could have significant political and technical repercussions.
Government Executive News and Analysis: Cyber Wars