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New Defense Bill Authorizes US Government To Launch “Defensive” Cyber Attacks

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Cyberwarfare rules included in Defense bill

Suzanne Kubota
Federal News Radio
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

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Within the chairman’s mark of the 2012 Defense Authorization bill is language that would allow DoD to carry out clandestine operations in cyberspace against targets located outside the United States and to defend against all attacks on DoD assets.

“In particular, this section (962) would clarify that the Secretary of Defense has the authority to conduct clandestine cyberspace activities in support of military operations pursuant to the Authorization for the Use of Military Force….outside of the United States or to defend against a cyber attack on an asset of the Department of Defense.”

According to the mark up, terrorists “are increasingly using the internet to exercise command and control,” and to spread technical information enabling attacks on U.S. and coalition forces, often from the relative safety of “distributed sanctuaries throughout the world. As a result, military activities may not be confined to a physical battlefield, and the use of military cyber activities has become a critical part of the effort to protect U.S. and coalition forces and combat terrorism globally.”

The section of the bill expressly “includes the authority to conduct clandestine military activities in cyberspace in support of military operations,” where Congress has authorized the use of “all necessary and appropriate force” or to defend against a cyber attack on a DoD asset.

Within the bill, there are more than a dozen items slated for funding labeled “cyber”. The largest amount goes to DISA with $24,085,000 requested and authorized by the House.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 7:54 am

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