In a recent interview in Foreign Policy, former US cybersecurity czar Richard Clark discussed the US military’s forthcoming Air Force Cyber Command and the nation’s overall security picture in the global, networked knowledge economy. Clark’s concern is not that we’ll have an earth-shaking, stupor-dispelling Internet version of 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, but that we won’t. Instead, Clark fears that a steady, silent bleed of public- and private-sector secrets will weaken the US military and /br /”What is happening every day is quite devastating, even though it doesn’t have a kinetic impact and there are no body bags,” Clark told Foreign Policy. “What’s happening every day is that all of our information is being stolen. So, we pay billions of dollars for research and development, both in the government and the private sector, for engineering, for pharmaceuticals, for bioengineering, genetic stuff—all sorts of proprietary, valuable information that is the result of spending a lot of money on Ramp;D—and all that information gets stolen for one one-thousandth of the cost that it took to develop it.”br /br /Clark blames most of the damage on attacks by the Chinese government, but he’s also concerned about the potential of non-governmental actors—mainly terrorists and organized crime—to wage cyber-warfare on a level that matches or exceeds that of governments like the US and /br /In response to these threats, the US Air Force will soon launch its Air Force Cyber Command (AFCYBER), yet another explicit recognition that the US now sees our national and international communications infrastructure as a theater of war, and that the country is serious about developing the capacity to mount a credible offense in it. An Air Force general told ZDNET UK that this offense will include denial of service attacks, data loss and manipulation, and disruption of system integrity, among other /br /According to the command’s a href=””web site/a, AFCYBER begins operations on October 1. Interestingly enough, the USAF has explicitly stipulated that the entire command be “virtual.”br /br /”We’ve asked [the command] to become virtual,” Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne told government officials in remarks that were reported in AFCYBER’s online news outlet. “In other words, we’ve said, we don’t want you to be a standard … command as you might see from the Napoleonic era. …We asked them to look [into commercial] companies [to] see how they operate and minimize the headquarters. … [Many of our units are] already located in the various states around the country, so our first inclination is to leave those in place.”

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