Cyber warfare has been a popular trope in books and film since the 80s, but it’s never really felt like a real thing until recently. Every day, there are new reports of hacking attacks made by individuals and countries against their rivals and adversaries. The U.S. military rightly thinks this trend is only going to continue, and is now preparing to greatly expand its cyber warfare capabilities.
The New York Times reports that the Pentagon is preparing to expand the Defense Department’s Cyber Command to more than 4,000 people. The center only has about 900 personnel currently working for it. With the expansion, the Defense Department hopes to create three different forces – national mission forces, combat mission forces and cyber protection forces. The first would protect national infrastructure, the second would execute cyberattacks against enemies, and the third would protect the Pentagon’s computer systems from unauthorized intrusions.
It’s an ambitious plan, but the Pentagon recognizes that it’s a challenging one as well. Defense officials say that it will be difficult to find and train thousands of people in something as complicated as cyber defense. That being said, the military says that the threat of a cyber attack is “real” and it needs to bolster its defenses before something disastrous like Stuxnet attacks U.S. infrastructure.
The Pentagon’s move to expand its cyber forces comes as the number of cyber attacks against private and public organizations increase every year. Anonymous has been a major source of these attacks with its latest target being the U.S. government. The government also regularly attributes a number of attacks against its systems to China or Russia. The most recent being a supposed Chinese cyber attack against the White House’s servers.
Alongside an increase to the Pentagon’s cyber defenses, the U.S. government will most assuredly propose more legislation that will beef up security. CISPA and CSA were defeated last year after privacy and government regulation concerns were brought to light, but some lawmakers will undoubtedly bring it up again this year. It’s also been suggested that President Obama will issue an executive order to institute a number of cybersecurity rules in the country.