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Pentagon Plans New Arm to Wage Computer Wars

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cyber security threats

The U.S. Pentagon is planning to establish a new cyberwarfare command as a complement to a soon-to-be-announced civilian computer network safety overhaul, according to administration officials. They say President Obama will announce the creation of a White House office that will oversee an effort to limit access to government computers and shield systems that run the stock exchanges, clear global banking transactions, and support the air traffic control system.

Officials report that Obama will soon sign a classified order to set up the military cybercommand, which signals that the United States must prepare strategies for the use of cyberweapons in its arsenal. The new command will initially be tasked with organizing the various elements and capabilities currently scattered among the armed services. A cyberczar will be appointed to run the White House office, but because the position will not have direct access to the president, some experts say it is not high-level enough to resolve a series of bureaucratic skirmishes that have erupted as billions of dollars have suddenly been apportioned to protect against cyberthreats. The key issue is whether the U.S. National Security Agency or the Pentagon should lead in preparing for and waging digital war.

The White House has never stated whether Obama supports the U.S.'s use of cyberweapons, and the public announcement is expected to concentrate exclusively on defensive measures and the government's acknowledgment that it must be better organized to contend with cyberthreats. Pentagon civilian officials and military officers say the new command is initially expected to be a subordinate headquarters under the military's Strategic Command, but it could eventually become independent.

From The New York Times
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