Home » Cyber » Army readies offensive cyber attacks

Army readies offensive cyber attacks

by Bryant Jordan on October 24, 2012

Senior Army officials said Tuesday that it is working to develop the service’s offensive cyber warfare capabilities to go along with its cyber security capabilities to allow soldier to launch as well as detect and defeat threats.

Military service leaders have spoken in detail about their ability to protect their networks. They have repeatedly avoided discussing growing offensive capabilities to utilize against enemies.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made the first cyber policy speech by a defense secretary earlier this month in New York City where he warned Americans that ignoring growing cyber threats has made the U.S. vulnerable. He made it clear the U.S. military, along with partners in the private sector, were fully ready and capable of bringing the battle to any one launching a cyber “Pearl Harbor.”

The Defense Department routinely repels thousands of attacks daily, some by rogue hackers interested in testing their skills but others pose more serious threats from state and non-state actors.

None of the services have taken the lead in cyber warfare. Officials have discussed here at the AUSA conference that the Army is interested in taking that lead now through U.S. Army Cyber Command.

Since it was stood up in 2010 it has developed capabilities and a growing force of cyber warriors through its Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, Army Intelligence and Security Command, 1st Information Operations Command (Land) and the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade (Cyber).

Its ranks currently include 21,000 soldiers, Department of the Army civilians and contractors.

Officials developing the Army’s cyber warfare capabilities liken it to a period 20 years ago when service leaders began to learn to use space as a platform. The difference is that the U.S. doesn’t have 20 years, because of the numerous cyber threats that already exist and threaten U.S. national security, Campbell said.

“It’s got to happen right now. So we got to make sure it is ‘operationalized’ throughout the force from a leader development standpoint,” Campbell said.

Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell Jr., commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, Texas, said the Army must work out where “the release authority” should be at different command levels to take offensive action.

“We’re going to have to, as a service and as a military, decide what levels of permission can go for what,” he said.

U.S. Army Cyber Command does not see its role as a defender or attacker operating only from a higher headquarters location. The Army’s strategy demands presence “in two domains – cyber and land,” said Lt. Gen. Rhett A. Hernandez, the head of U.S. Army Cyber Command.

Just what capabilities eventually will reside with commanders closest to the action “still has to be determined, based on what kind we want them to have and what capabilities we may be able to produce,” he said.

Asked whether a platoon leader may one day be able to call up for a network attack the way they call in artillery or air support, Hernandez was not able to say.

“I’m not there yet or ready to go that far, but I would focus on what you can do to protect first, and second what they can do to help them continue to operate,” he said. “And then after that I’m not ready to say what might be next,” he said.

Share |

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Vaporhead October 24, 2012 at 9:14 am

Honestly, how many different "Cyber Commands" do they need? Guarenteed none of them are talking to each other either. The DoD and the Intelligence community are still so compartmentalized that it's another 9/11 waiting to happen again.

Reply

cyberservices October 25, 2012 at 7:46 am

Wrong. All of the services Cyber Commands are centralized on Fort Meade, the home of US Cyber Command. DoD is (based on my knowledge) better at bridging the compartmentalization gap than say CIA and DoD or FBI and CIA.

Reply

Willie Woolford October 25, 2012 at 10:42 am

We are at least on track addressing the needs of our Cyber community. I work for Bellevue University who has developed an undergraduate and graduate degree program in Cybersecurity (http://www.bellevue.edu/degrees/index.aspx?newSearch=true).
We welcome input from the cyber community to help us keep this training/education current, relevant, and in focus to our cyber community. For information, contact me at willie.woolford@bellevue.edu

Reply

notstandardcyber December 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm
blight_ October 24, 2012 at 10:10 am

The new 802.11 grenade will attack enemy wifi hotspots and bring them down, infiltrate connected machines and use the zombienet to attack local ISPs…

Reply

blight_ October 24, 2012 at 11:51 am

This just in, the new grenade is a 802.16 device trying to pair with nearby computers, an 802.11 device trying to attack via wireless…and comes with a USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt, Lightning and Ethernet adapters for physical attacks.

Lockheed Martin would be happy to sell you some for 20,000 each…

Reply

Ben October 24, 2012 at 10:27 am

I was under the impression that the USAF was our lead cyber branch. You know, "Fly, fight and win in air, space, and cyberspace."

Reply

Big-Dean October 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm

no, each service has it's own support cyber command, but there is a joint cyber command that each service is a part of

its funny how the air force makes this one of it's main missions when its a minor thing will the other services

Reply

MHC October 27, 2012 at 11:11 am

Is that going to bE call JCOC pronounced jAy-Cock :)

Reply

T Leon October 26, 2012 at 8:30 pm

You do mean the USAF 754th ESG?

Reply

indianmedicine October 24, 2012 at 11:49 am

A "Joint Command" that did over see Air,Land, & Sea EW Offensive & Defensive Measures is a plausible concept. The Joint Services would be compelled to speak Operationally to each other – negating the Question of "Centralizing" a Command Structure. Each Branch of Service would continue to be responsible for their respective Areas of Interest – yet an Association Matrix would develop out of Rediness necessity.
Historical Inter-Service Rivalry would be set aside for The Combined Arms Approach as a Joint Service Approach and permit Branch Specific needs being operationally addressed.

Reply

blight_ October 24, 2012 at 11:49 am

To be fair, they want some kind of rudimentary cyber attack/defense equipment and personnel within the branch, which isn't a bad idea. The Navy and the Air Force theoretically are responsible for their own base security, instead of depending on the army for it.

However when it comes to attack, it's hard to say just what kind of attack the Army intends to use. Is the army going to attack military targets, for example some kind of attack on enemy TOCs? If you're talking attacks on civilian/industrial targets, an independent specialized cyberoffense branch would be more appropriate.

Reply

Big-Dean October 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm

We need to brag up the other services to sound like the air force in this area, how about ;-D

The Marine Corp- "The few the proud the cyber-ass-kickers"
The Army- "An army of one cyber-soldier"
The Navy- "A global force for cyber-sea-land-and space"

Reply

blight_ October 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Navy: From the Sea…a DDoS!
Marines: The Few, The Proud, The Leet.
Army: Linux Strong, Army Strong

Reply

ForCom5 October 24, 2012 at 9:53 pm

hahaha…oh man. That was good.

Reply

Rob October 24, 2012 at 9:08 pm

This article hints we have little or no cyber attack capability as it is now??

Truth is most of the cyber attacks are done by civilian not military…

If some basement hacker can tap or infect a system then so can any foreign military or civilian.

Eastern & 3rd world countries have drained millions if not billions out of the west in the past decade and little or nothing was ever done about it.

Our public is our weakness. Many run weakly secured computers.

Many business sector cyber attacks never get on the news either.

Anyways, if anything we should test cyber capabilities with all allies to find each other's weaknesses and improve the system period.

Reply

indianmedicine October 25, 2012 at 12:46 am

A "Joint Command" that did over see Air,Land, & Sea EW Offensive & Defensive Measures is a plausible concept. The Joint Services would be compelled to speak Operationally to each other – negating the Question of "Centralizing" a Command Structure. Each Branch of Service would continue to be responsible for their respective Areas of Interest – yet an Association Matrix would develop out of Rediness necessity.

Reply

Bob Hanna October 25, 2012 at 2:20 am

I have an idea that might be worth pursuing. There are thousands of retirees that have computers and have access to the internet. They probably use the internet no more than about four hours per day…..These computers could be used by the military to attack attackers while they are not being used…which would be probably twenty hours a day or so…..Our society is very computerized and has much more capability than is being used. I would have no problem offering to the military my unused internet time.

Reply

blight_ October 25, 2012 at 10:51 am

You're offering your computer to a government sanctioned zombienet?

Reply

VRecho October 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm

“Who is to say that your Internet ready device / smart phone does not already offer that to departments in the DoD?”
Said in conspirator voice. :-)

Reply

Rob October 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm

I think about things like this all time. Being that we are at odds and even war with various groups with cyber capability and internet access, we could do so much more to help the war effort.

I'd donate my off work time and computer for anything like this. Anytime

Reply

Chris October 25, 2012 at 11:49 am

The Army is changing the name of the battlespace to Cyberland and the Navy is changing it to Cybersea

Reply

blight_ October 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm

One day, representatives from the services were blindfolded and went out to touch the Internet.

The Soldier said, hey, this feels like it has parts that belong on land. Responsibility goes to the Army.
The Sailor said, hey, fiberoptic trunklines pass under the water. Responsibility to protect cyberspace goes to the Navy.
The Airman said, hey, the Air Force controls satellite communication, and communication is part of the internet. Cyberspace goes to the Air Force!
(Of course, the Marines had other things they would rather do, and will be happy if the Navy does it for them)

Reply

Robert October 25, 2012 at 8:45 pm

CIA operative said, I have to retrieve AQ's computers after every special op. These guys do more damage to America then anyone else. Responsibility is all ours, please raise our budget & give us more drones commander. .

Reply

Devil Dog April 21, 2013 at 10:53 am

OORAH!

Reply

Big-Dean October 26, 2012 at 12:02 am

What we need is a cyber militia

After all a "well regulated militia" is Constitutional (not like 90% of our current government)

So we would form cyber militia groups of civilians who's job is to defend our country, after all, a cyber attack is just another means of attacking a nation. So these militia groups would be made up a hacker types with backgrounds in cyber security. They would have communications with various government and civilian organization who will advise them if they are being attacked. The cyber militia will then go after the attackers where ever they are located.

Reply

TRUNG TÂM BẢO HÀNH ĐIỆN LẠNH TẠI TPHCM October 31, 2012 at 8:56 pm

I almost never create responses, however after reading through a lot of comments on
Army readies offensive cyber attacks | Defense Tech. I actually do have a few
questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be only me or do some of the remarks appear as if they are left by brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are posting at other online sites, I’d like to keep up with anything new you have to
post. Would you make a list of every one of all your social sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

Reply

guest November 4, 2012 at 1:29 am

Saudi Arabia: Jewish Bloodline, Jewish State
http://www.defence.pk/forums/world-affairs/22127-

Reply

Offensive Defensive Review, Landscaping Projects, Software Development, Application Development, Pat June 4, 2013 at 6:58 am

Simply desire to say your article is as amazing. The clearness to your post is simply spectacular and i could think you are an expert in this subject. Fine together with your permission allow me to seize your feed to keep up to date with coming near near post. Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: