[ISN] A Mouse That Roars?

From: cult hero (jerichoat_private)
Date: Thu Jun 10 1999 - 04:00:13 PDT

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    Forwarded From: William Knowles <erehwonat_private>
    A Mouse That Roars? 
    By William M. Arkin
    Special to washingtonpost.com
    Monday, June 7, 1999
    Last week, Newsweek reported that President Clinton approved a covert
    operation in May to find an electronic silver bullet to do what the White
    House at the time believed the air war couldn't. According to the report,
    the CIA would conduct a cyberwar against Milosevic, specifically going
    after his financial assets in banks throughout Europe.
    Is the keyboard mightier than the sword? 
    Before Allied Force, the intelligence agencies held a cyberwar exercise to
    answer this very question.
    At center stage was the Information Operations Technology Center (IOTC),
    activated last year and made up of the best cyberwarriors of the U.S. 
    government. Housed at National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade,
    Md., IOTC brings together highly secret capabilities:  NSA's P42
    information warfare cell, the CIA's Critical Defense Technologies
    Division, the Pentagon's "special technology operations."
    Military sources familiar with the March demonstration say there is no
    question that the keyboard covert operators wowed the Joint Staff with
    their computer attack capabilities. But they are adamant in insisting that
    cyberbombs are more laboratory technologies than usable weapons.  In fact,
    the sources point out, the only cyberwar raging is inside the U.S. 
    government where Washington lawyers and policymakers, military leaders,
    and official hackers battle over the value and legality of network attack.
    Where's The Bits? 
    The day bombs started falling on Yugoslavia, the Air Force Association
    convened a high-level symposium in San Antonio, Tex., to address the
    status of information warfare. Washingtonpost.com has obtained a
    transcript of the two-day proceeding.
    Gen. John Jumper, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, joined the
    closed-door session via satellite from his headquarters in Germany. "I
    have not had much sleep over the last 48 hours, and I am probably not as
    sharp or prepared as I would like to be," he apologized. 
    Tired or not, the senior air force officer in Europe wasted no time
    blasting the bias of information warriors to fight battles solely at the
    "strategic level." He was referring to the very sort of effort Newsweek
    would speculate about two months later.
    "When we hear talk of information warfare," Jumper said, "the mind
    conjures up notions of taking some country's piece of sacred
    infrastructure in a way that is hardly relevant to the commander at the
    operational and tactical level."
    "I would submit that we are not there with information warfare," he
    Networking Network Attack
    Brig. Gen. John B. Baker, commander of the Air Intelligence Agency and
    head of the Pentagon's Joint Command and Control Warfare Center, followed
    "In my hat as the air force component commander for NSA," he warned, "I
    spend a lot of time working ... on how to exploit what is going on out
    there in computer networks." But when it comes to going beyond collecting
    computer transmissions as raw intelligence to actually manipulating and
    exploiting the "zeroes and ones" for military value, Baker said, "we have
    a ways to go." 
    Despite all the new information warfare organizations that have been
    established of late, he lamented that cyberwarriors did not yet have the
    stature of other warriors: "Effects-based warfare," that is, methods
    geared to achieve an outcome and not cause traditional damage lacks the
    "visually pleasing destruction from an armed bomb."
    Baker stressed that part of the problem in any kind of computer network
    attack is the concerns on the part of policy-makers in Washington with
    regard to legality and "traceability."
    Jumper described his experience: "I picture myself around that same
    targeting table where you have the fighter pilot, the bomber pilot, the
    special operations people and the information warriors. As you go down the
    target list, each one takes a turn raising his or her hand saying, I can
    take that target.' When you get to the info warrior, the info warrior
    says, "I can take the target, but first I have to go back to Washington
    and get a finding."
    Seeking permission invariably results in artificial restrictions and
    hesitations in attacking targets, Jumper stressed. From a field
    perspective, he said, the process of seeking the "special" operation cedes
    too much decision-making to inside the Beltway.
    Finding The Way
    The unusually candid discussions of the institutional and military
    stumbling blocks to an information warfare future contrasts with the
    Hollywood vision of cyberwar so common in the mainstream media these days. 
    Still, Maj. Gen. Bruce A. "Orville" Wright told the symposium that "Within
    the area of computer network exploitation, there is tremendous investment,
    which, with a little bit of fine tuning, can be turned into a computer
    network attack capability." 
    The IOTC, Wright said, "is a great organization that has a bright future." 
    He should know. As Deputy Director for Information Operations for the
    Joint Chiefs of Staff, he is the military head of the interagency center
    and the top cyber-warrior in the U.S. military.
    But the key word is future. 
    With the shooting war against Yugoslavia over, it should be crystal clear
    to anyone that exotic American cyberbombs have not aided the effort in any
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