A US military advisory panel has urged the development of a special force with own bombers, cruise missiles and cyber weapons to respond to a ‘devastating’ cyber attack on the Pentagon’s computer system.
A new report by the Defense Science Board (DSB), which advises top officials of the US Defense Department on technological threats and challenges, states that the military must adopt measures to “ensure the President has options beyond a nuclear-only response to catastrophic cyber-attack,” the US-based Foreign Policy magazine reports in a Wednesday article.
Written by DSB’s Task Force on Resilient Military Systems, the report suggests that the US “might have to rely on nuclear weapons to retaliate after a large-scale cyber attack,” the article adds, while noting that American defense officials have acknowledged efforts to build “offensive cyber capabilities to deter destructive cyber attacks.”
To avert a nuclear response, the report further calls for development of an elite team of cyber and conventional forces that are “heavily protected against cyber attack and dedicated to retaliating after such a strike.”
“Forces supporting this capability are isolated and segmented from general-purpose forces to maintain the highest level of cyber resiliency at an affordable cost. Nuclear weapons would remain the ultimate response and anchor the deterrence ladder," the DSB report states, as quoted in the article.
The document further recommends a number of weapons systems for this special conventional deterrent force: "Global selective strike systems e.g. penetrating bomber, submarines with long range cruise missiles, Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS), survivable national and combatant command."
To put the plan together, the report urges US military leaders to develop "an updated Strategic Deterrence Strategy, including the development of cyber escalation scenarios and red lines," according to the influential journal, which mainly covers issues related to US national security and foreign policy.
American officials have recently expressed major concerns about foreign-based cyber attacks on computer networks of principal US government agencies and industries.
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