All future attacks on US will include cyber element, says Panetta

Twenty-first century technology makes cyberattacks a primary threat to U.S. national security and because of this future military attacks against the United States will include a cyber element, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Feb. 6.

Noting that the developments that have taken place in the cyber arena have been "incredible" over the past decade, Panetta told Georgetown University students during a question and answer session following a presentation on leadership and government that cyberattacks have now become a routine part of military engagement.

“There is no question, in my mind, that part and parcel of any attack on this country in the future, by any enemy, is going to include a cyber element,” he is quoted as saying in an American Forces Press Service story.

Panetta, who is expected to retire this month, has sounded the alarm loud and frequently during his two-year tenure about how cyberattacks pose a potential crippling effect on U.S. government, financial and commercial networks.

The defense secretary expressed his deep disappointment when Congress failed to pass the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 last year. Despite this, Panetta has steered U.S. defense strategy in a direction designed to enhance the military's cyber expertise and resources.

In his remarks at Georgetown University, Panetta once again urged Congress to act to enhance the department’s cyber capabilities. U.S. defense strategy considers cyber potential in planning “how we will go after an enemy,” he said.

Major cyberattacks on the United States are "something we have to worry about and protect against," Panetta said.


About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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