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Pentagon Can Now Play Offense in Cyberspace

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The head of the National Security Agency said last month that playing offense in cyberspace is challenging because the current strategy focuses primarily on defense.

“They find a vulnerability, they penetrate the network, we find out about it several months later,” said Army Gen. Keith Alexander “We diagnose the malware, we set up the signature, we clean up our systems, we get everything set again and wait for the next exploitation.”

Congress has now given the Pentagon a clause on offensive cyber operations in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012.

“Congress affirms that the Department of Defense has the capability, and upon direction by the president may conduct offensive operations in cyberspace to defend our nation, allies and interests,” the act says.

The law also directs the Pentagon to oversee collaborative cyber activities with the Department of Homeland Security, according to Federal Times. DHS must assign its own official to coordinate with the Pentagon.


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