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Former Gen. Cartwright Wants US to be Upfront with Cyber Capabilties

James Cartwright

The U.S. is not as open as it should be when it comes to cyber weapons and when it intends to use them against foreign hackers, according to a former number-two uniformed officer in the U.S. military as reported by Reuters.

James Cartwright, a four-star Marine Corps general who retired in August as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said: “We’ve got to step up the game; we’ve got to talk about our offensive capabilities and train to them; to make them credible so that people know there’s a penalty to this.”

Cartwright also indicated that when weapons remain a secret, they do not serve as a deterrent against someone who may be considering committing some sort of cyber crime. Despite his pleas, officials remain, as has been the tradition, quiet other than claiming that the U.S. has offensive and defensive ways to respond in a time of need.

Last week, a report was released that labeled both China and Russia as the most active nations using cyber espionage to get a hold of U.S. classified information. This, in combination with Cartwright’s statements, coincide with Obama’s administration debating what the rules of engagement for cyberspace should be.

While previously the Obama administration said it would respond to a cyberattack in the same way it would to any threat on the country, now the military is working out how exactly that will be done.

Among other details, the military is working out how open the U.S. should be able its countermeasure capabilities, what a cyberattack would be comprised of and operational plans for training and testing.

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