Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A New Military Branch for Cyber Warfare?

IANewsletter has published an article (starting on page 14) looking at the need for a separate cyber branch of the U.S. military on par with the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force.

The authors review the historical context of the existing branches and the unique nature of cyber warfare:
"...occasionally, a new technology is so significant that it creates a discontinuity in the conduct of war that necessitates creation of an entirely new military service. This situation occurred in the United States, resulting in the formation of the Air Force in 1947. The advent of air power fundamentally altered the conduct of warfighting and drove the transformation of the Army Air Corps into the United States Air Force.

"The revolution in cyberwarfare places today’s militaries at a similar cusp in history and necessitates the formation of a cyberwarfare branch of the military, on equal footing with the Army, Navy, and Air Force."
"Cyberwarfare is fundamentally different from traditional kinetic warfare. National boundaries in cyberspace are difficult, if not impossible, to define. Lawyers and pundits are still debating the
formal definition of an “act of war.” Asymmetries abound and defenders must block all possible avenues of cyber attack. An attacker need only exploit a single vulnerability to be successful."
The article then discusses why it would be better to have a separate military branch rather than trying to integrate cyber capabilities into each existing branch:
"The cultures of today’s military services are fundamentally incompatible with the culture required to conduct cyberwarfare. This assertion in no way denigrates either culture. Today’s militaries excel at their respective missions of fighting and winning in ground, sea, and air conflict; however, the core skills each institution values are intrinsically different from those skills required to engage in cyberwarfare. Cyber requires a deep understanding of software, hardware, operating systems, and networks at both the technical and policy levels."

Army, Navy, Air Force, and Cyber—Is it Time for a Cyberwarfare Branch of Military?

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