Defense bill would allow clandestine cyberwarfare operations

By Suzanne Kubota
Federal News Radio

Within the chairman’s mark of the 2012 Defense Authorization bill is language that would allow DoD to carry out clandestine operations in cyberspace against targets located outside the United States and to defend against all attacks on DoD assets.

Released Monday, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, (R-Calif.) helps to define the Rules of Engagement in cyberspace for the Defense Department, noting “because of the evolving nature of cyber warfare, there is a lack of historical precedent for what constitutes traditional military activities in cyberspace.”

“In particular, this section (962) would clarify that the Secretary of Defense has the authority to conduct clandestine cyberspace activities in support of military operations pursuant to the Authorization for the Use of Military Force….outside of the United States or to defend against a cyber attack on an asset of the Department of Defense.”

According to the mark up, terrorists “are increasingly using the internet to exercise command and control,” and to spread technical information enabling attacks on U.S. and coalition forces, often from the relative safety of “distributed sanctuaries throughout the world. As a result, military activities may not be confined to a physical battlefield, and the use of military cyber activities has become a critical part of the effort to protect U.S. and coalition forces and combat terrorism globally.”

The section of the bill expressly “includes the authority to conduct clandestine military activities in cyberspace in support of military operations,” where Congress has authorized the use of “all necessary and appropriate force” or to defend against a cyber attack on a DoD asset.

Within the bill, there are more than a dozen items slated for funding labeled “cyber”. The largest amount goes to DISA with $24,085,000 requested and authorized by the House.

Other provisions in the Chairman’s Mark

Also within the mark of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, as noted in both the mark and a press release from McKeon’s office:

  • Limit any annual increase in TRICARE Prime enrollment fees to the amount equal to the percentage by which retiree pay is increased beginning October 1, 2012;
  • Requires the Department of Defense to manage civilian personnel on the basis of the workload requirements and not on arbitrary cost targets;
  • Establishment of a financial management certification program for the Department of Defense;
  • Requires the Chief Management Officer to conduct a financial management personnel competency assessment in order to identify the personnel requirements needed to effectively perform financial, budgetary and accounting processes and to maintain professional certification standards;
  • Directs the Comptroller General to annually assess the extent to which the Department of Defense is realizing the savings proposed by the Secretary’s efficiencies initiatives, and requires the Comptroller General to assess the extent to which components of the Department of Defense conducted business case analysis prior to recommending or implementing these efficiencies initiatives;
  • Requires the Pentagon to develop a Total Force Management Plan that would determine the appropriate mix of military (active and reserve component), civilian and contractor personnel to meet the projected requirements.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 will be marked up by the Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.


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(Copyright 2011 by All Rights Reserved.)

2 responses to “Defense bill would allow clandestine cyberwarfare operations

  1. basically section 962 enables cybercom to seize the global network and assert clandestine cyber battlefield management/control.combine this with a vague description of what constitutes an “attack” and what does the pentagon views as an “asset” and what you got is a free-pass to do as you please.for instance anyone running a website which criticises DOD/DOE projects such as HAARP,VTRPE,operation cloverleaf etc. may be viewed as an intellectual cyber attack by overzealous busybodies within the military industrial complex and punished with webdomain seizures/disruption/attacks etc. on foreign soil.soon,inquisitive and curious minded individuals will find themselves labelled as “possible threat” and dealt with as “cyber- terrorists” it’s what J.P.Wheeler warned about a year before his outrageous murder.

  2. but it’s not all doom and gloom the establishment of a financial management certification program for the Department of Defense looks at first glance,as a step in the right direction to a more efficient financial policy regarding procurement and acquisition

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