Going On The Offensive

On November 15th, 2011, Ellen Nakashima reported for the Washington Post how the DoD has clarified its policy on offensive cyber operations.  Specifically, the article notes that the Pentagon, "if directed by the president, will launch offensive cyber operations in response to hostile acts."  Furthermore, "hostile acts may include significant cyber attacks directed against the U.S. economy, government or military."  These statements were taken from a recently released DoD report, and are consistent with the Pentagon's cyberspace strategy.  The report went on to say that before responding to a cyberattack, the US must “exhaust all options prior to using force whenever we can.”  

However, the article points out that some elements of policy, such as rules of engagement, have not yet been addressed.  The article also questions whether the report advises "automated, pre-approved responses to some hostile acts in cyberspace."  Again, the report said that only the president may authorize offensive cyber actions.  Moreover, Herbert Lin, a cyber expert, said that automated responses “are fraught with danger. Without people in the loop, you’re much more likely to do unintended stuff.”

The source article can be found here.


On November 15th, 2011, Colin Clark wrote for AOL Defense on recent comments made by Gen. Keith Alexander, CyberComm/NSA head.  The article quoted Gen. Alexander's remarks at the Strategic Command space and cyber conference when he said "We have to have more authority to defend ourselves in cyberspace."  Clark argued that this call for more authority indicated that the DoD "feels the need for the right to engage in offensive cyber operations." 

The article also commented on the Washington Post story about offensive cyber-operations (above).  Specifically, the article noted that the report sidestepped issues like "the development of a declaratory deterrence posture for cyberspace" and "what constitutes an act of war in cyberspace."

The U.S. Air Force is also looking to go on the offensive.  Lt. Gen. Michael Basla, Deputy commander of Air Force Space Command, said that "[the Air Force] is also going to build a cyber offensive capability."
The source article can be found here.
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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography


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