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Pentagon Will Help Homeland Security Department Fight Domestic Cyberattacks

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The Obama administration has adopted new rules whereby the president would sanction the use of the military's cyberwarfare capabilities, guided by the Department of Homeland Security, in response to an attack on essential U.S. computer networks. Officials who helped draft the rules say the goal is to guarantee a fast response to cyberthreats while balancing concerns that civil liberties might be endangered should the military assume control of domestic operations. The rules were designated as critical because the Pentagon houses the bulk of the government's computer network capabilities, while the majority of key targets reside on domestic soil.

The Pentagon's Robert J. Butler says a memorandum of agreement detailing the rules was designed to bypass legal debates about the authority for operating domestically, and to concentrate on the best approach of response to cyberthreats. Butler says a cohort of lawyers would monitor for potential civil liberty violations, and that safeguards have been implemented.

The Pentagon is expected to issue a full National Defense Strategy for Cyber Operations this year, while broader interagency guidance from the White House is expected to follow next year.

From The New York Times
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