Pentagon considers preemptive strikes as part of cyber-defense strategy

In an article dated Saturday, August 28, 2010, Washington Post staff writer Ellen Nakashima sheds light on what types of tools the U.S. may be considering as it attempts to take its newly unveiled cybersecurity strategy to the operational level over the next two months.       


"The Pentagon is contemplating an aggressive approach to defending its computer systems that includes preemptive actions such as knocking out parts of an adversary's computer network overseas."  Moreover, according to Defense Department budget documents, "[t]he department is developing a range of weapons capabilities, including tools that would allow 'attack and exploitation of adversary information systems' [as well as tools] that can 'deceive, deny, disrupt, degrade and destroy' . . .  information systems."


Although such an aggressive approach may eventually become a reality, the approach has some technological and legal experts questioning the feasibility of such an undertaking.  Indeed, as Nakashima points out, "[g]overnment lawyers and some officials question whether the Pentagon could take such action without violating international law or other countries' sovereignty."  


The legal, logistical and technological issues notwithstanding, these proposed tools do give context to the meaning of "active defense," and provide some indication of what the future holds for America's cybersecurity strategy.

The article can be found at the link above, or here.  


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2 Responses to “Pentagon considers preemptive strikes as part of cyber-defense strategy”

  1. This is very important and should be read along with the National Academy of Science report on the legality of offensive actions in cyberspace, available to registered members of this course in the electronic library section of

  2. I hope many would realize the implication of this and would create a better plan on this. Kudos for sharing!

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