The US Navy will soon operate as a cyber warfighting platform, ready to attack rogue nations when ordered by the White House. A top military commander tipped the initiative at a defense conference, saying "you don't win a knife fight without swinging a knife." US intelligence services already launch limited cyber strikes, as they did against North Korea following the Sony hacking incident. But assigning such attacks to a military arm is a signal that the US wants a stronger deterrent against hacking aggression from China, Russia and other nations. There's no word on whether the Navy's new role is part of the new US Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center initiative.
The Navy is treating the cyber angle as it would any combat role, by breaking it down into goals and milestones. On top of taking the offensive, it wants to increase cyber defenses (reduce the attack surface, in military parlance), invest in new IT capability and increase cyber situational awareness. For the latter goal, it will rely in part on US industry, which will provide valuable experience from numerous hacking attacks over the past several years. The end goal is to launch 40 teams of Navy cyber forces "to go out and do missions in this warfare domain."
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