Cyber Command chief General Keith Alexander has unveiled some new information about the nation’s cyberwarfare policy, revealing in a Senate hearing the creation of 13 “cyberattack” teams, which he dubbed part of the “cyber cadre,” that are authorized to engage in preemptive cyberwarfare across the planet.
Alexander sought to downplay the seriousness of this revelation after the fact, insisting that they are “offensive” units, but are aimed primarily at deterrence, and are “analogous to battalions in the Army and Marine Corps.”
Except that the Army and Marine Corps don’t try to build deterrence credibility by launching unilateral attacks on other nations, or at least to the extent that they do, it is unquestionably an act of war, and done publicly.
The Pentagon has repeatedly made it clear they would view such cyberattacks by other nations as no different than any other military attack, but at the same time their own cyberwarfare units are treating offensive operations as a matter of course. Officials have repeatedly complained that such attacks are on the rise from hackers in other nations, but the US seems to be looking not to defend against such attacks, but rather to get in on the fun.