Digital Conflict

By Kevin Coleman

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Kevin Coleman

Cyber threat draws political attention

President Barack Obama included cyber issues in his Jan. 24 State of the Union address, and that this topic made it into the speech is a big deal. It clearly indicates the current severity of the problem. Near the end of his address, Obama said, “To stay one step ahead of our adversaries, I have already sent this Congress legislation that will secure our country from the growing danger of cyber threats.”

Another prominent political figure, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, also commented on the state of the cyber threat. Gingrich said he believes that cyber warfare is as much of a threat as an electromagnetic pulse and a nuclear weapon in an American city. Gingrich said he believes “all three of those require dramatically more attention than we’re giving to them.” He believes the federal government lacks a decisive stance on possible cyber terrorism that is another area of growing concern by the military and intelligence communities.

All this took place as retired Vice Adm. Mike McConnell, vice chairman at Booz Allen Hamilton and former National Security Agency director, disclosed in a Jan. 23 interview with Reuters that the United States has already launched attacks on the computer networks of other nations. Although many knew this from inference and derivative intelligence, a disclosure such as this from such a high-ranking, informed authority shocked many.

This is a huge and growing national security issue, and it is reassuring that both sides are talking about it. As always, actions speak louder than words. We need to move beyond the talking about it phase and take immediate steps to reduce this national security risk.

Posted by Kevin Coleman on Feb 02, 2012 at 9:26 PM

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