United States Cyber Command is now in action — proactively protecting you by thwarting the ethereal outsider threats from terrorists, rogue actors, and other nations wishing to do us harm — but that lockdown protection travels two ways: In and out.  We know the in — but the out is you — and your local internet connectivity.

We already know the government is watching us with the help of outside contractors like Microsoft — but what is the role of Cyber Command?  To scare outsiders, or to control the outgoing thought at home?

In a recent speech in Omaha, Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn, III, set the scary stage for intervention:

The threat to our computer networks is substantial.  They are scanned millions of time a day.  They are probed thousands of times a day.  And we have not always been successful in stopping intrusions.  In fact, over the past several years we have experienced damaging penetrations.

Cyber is an especially asymmetric technology.  The low cost of computing devices means that our adversaries do not have to build expensive weapons systems to pose a serious threat.   They do not need fleets of ships or aircraft to conduct damaging attacks on our society.

Knowing this, many militaries are developing offensive cyber capabilities, and more than 100 foreign intelligence organizations are trying to break into U.S. systems.

Some governments already have the capacity to disrupt elements of the U.S. information infrastructure.

Cyber is also an attractive weapon to our adversaries because it is hard to identify the origin of an attack and even more difficult to deter one.

A keystroke travels twice around the world in 300 milliseconds.  But the forensics necessary to identify an attacker may take months.

Without establishing the identity of the attacker in near real time, our paradigm of deterrence breaks down.  Missiles come with a return address.  Cyber attacks, for the most part, do not.  For these reasons established models of deterrence do not wholly apply to cyber.  We need a deterrent structure that fuses offensive, defensive, and intelligence operations to meet current and future threats.

Would Cyber Comm be able to take out rogues like Bradley Manning abroad in addition to foreign national threats?

Or is Cyber Comm really being set up as the vested authority posed to cut off our internet connection here at home in the never ending “fight against terrorism” originating from Das Homeland as blog articles and ordinary emails?


  1. I hope it’s the former! That would be pretty bad if we couldn’t even write our thoughts in blogs. Sort of one of the founding principles of this country… one of the biggest ones.

    1. I hope so too, Gordon, but we do know this auto-shutoff valve for the internet already exists and it will be used on day. The only question is will it be sprung on us in a time of crisis — or will it be turned off as a “mistake” to gauge public opinion?

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