Cyber Command Über Alles
June 5, 2008 11:55 PM   Subscribe

Meanwhile, the Air Force is keeping busy with its traditional function: In Iraq, a Surge in U.S. Airstrikes. Military Says Attacks Save Troops' Lives, but Civilian Casualties Elicit Criticism
posted by homunculus at 11:58 PM on June 5, 2008

If they're really serious, they need to hire a regiment of 15-year-olds.
posted by amyms at 12:06 AM on June 6, 2008

Children's Crusade 2.0
posted by maryh at 12:18 AM on June 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

You thought that cyberspace -- a term conjured up long ago by that neuromancer, sci-fi author William Gibson -- was the last frontier of freedom.

No, I actually read the book.
posted by pompomtom at 12:27 AM on June 6, 2008 [5 favorites]

"Cyberspace" was an archaic term when the government started using it. Now it's positively creaky.

...which is a shame, because it was a neat neologism in its day.
posted by lumensimus at 12:35 AM on June 6, 2008

Attention Geeks and Hackers: Uncle Sam's Cyber Force Wants You!

So long as you don't sleep with anyone of the same sex, that is.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:42 AM on June 6, 2008

So long as you don't sleep with anyone of the same sex, that is.

No, you can, Blazecock Pileon, you just can't ask or tell.
posted by amyms at 12:50 AM on June 6, 2008

What "Cyberspace Command" really needs is some Voltron-esque mechas. This whole idea is just a poorly-thought-out anime waiting to happen.
posted by Avenger at 1:09 AM on June 6, 2008

Cyberwar is nothing new. Back in my day if it wasn't rogue elements of the NSA who wanted me (& my girlfriend at the time) to join their side of an internecine intelligence war & hack a certain CIA computer for them, it was some guy from the UN who wanted us to break into another CIA computer for him "while we were there". Giving these people tools of the kind of power they want is just asking for trouble. Frankly I'm of the opinion these days that we'd be better off with the intelligence community just disbanded. I think it's not just inefficient & incompetent but bad for democracy, we should scrap it & replace it with an open-source system that's transparent & accountable, much along the lines laid out by OSINT advocate Robert Steele.

Given the recent revelations concerning the decades-long Main Core program & the attempt to feed its databases into the NSA's Terrorist Surveillance Program so our government could better track political dissidents, this kind of thing just gives me the heebee jeebies.
posted by scalefree at 1:37 AM on June 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

Meanwhile, the Air Force is keeping busy with its traditional function

"We've learned what looks suspicious, and we've really learned to focus on those people more."
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:39 AM on June 6, 2008

"Cyberspace" was an archaic term when the government started using it. Now it's positively creaky.

When I first saw the Air Force TV spots (where every other word has "cyber" prepended), I thought it must be a joke. Then I realized it wasn't, and that Cybersergeant Cyberjones cyberprotects Cyberamerica from cyberattacks in cyberspace at the cyberforce cybercommand.

Of course, if their track record of keeping tabs on their own nukes is any indicator, they're gonna cyberneed all the cyberhelp they can cyberget.
posted by ubernostrum at 1:57 AM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Attention Geeks and Hackers: Uncle Sam's Cyber Force Wants You!

Attention Uncle Sam: First rate Geeks and Hackers are interested in freedom, openness and the free-flowing exchange of information.

Also, many of them are anarchists and libertarians and extreme individualists. If you thought the Manhattan project was a pain in the ass, wait until you try cat-herding infosec hackers.

Which is to say: Good luck with all of that.
posted by loquacious at 2:20 AM on June 6, 2008 [4 favorites]

Somebody clever with acronyms came up with D5, an all-encompassing term that embraces the ability to deceive, deny, disrupt, degrade, and destroy an enemy's computer information systems.

The full acronym is D5E, the E is for Exploit (see JOINT POLICY FOR MILITARY DECEPTION: CJCSI 3211.01D, which superseded CJCSI 3211.01C last August. I wonder what they changed?) We've already seen domestically targeted D5E in the selling of the Iraq war.

On the offensive side, though, everything is on the table, from jamming an enemy's radar to infiltrating its command-and-control networks. Someday, the Cyber Command may be able to hack an enemy's security and radar systems, improving the chances of bombs hitting home.

It's called Senior Suter & it's already been tested in combat. Oh & Israel has their own version of it too.

The important thing, the Air Force says, is that under a unified command, decisions about how to use all the pieces -- and control of the budget, more than $2 billion the first year -- will be in the hands of a single commander instead of being spread out as they are now.

"It makes us nimble," says Elder. "It means we can react quickly to change."

Yeah, nimble like the Titanic.
posted by scalefree at 2:22 AM on June 6, 2008

I'm with amyms on this one!
posted by bingodude at 2:33 AM on June 6, 2008

In the future, wars are fought over the blogosphere. In the late 2000s, in clear violation of RFC 8558 (Geneva Conventions 2.0), cyberterrorists used lolcats against civilians. Amidst the ensuing confusion, governments removed each other from their friend lists on MySpace and FaceBook as retaliation. The conflict escalated, and chaos broke down on the streets. Basic infrastructure was torn down. In 2010 the Twitter communication network went offline, leaving civilians dangerously unaware of the daily activities of their peers. In a last effort to keep the order, the government created a hardline taskforce, charged with the task of keeping the interweb safe. This ragtag team of amoral road warriors in the information super-highway was cleared for the use of any means necessary, from buffer overflows to rickrolling.

The grateful netizens called these anti-hero enforcers


[queue 80s guitar riff]
posted by qvantamon at 2:53 AM on June 6, 2008 [17 favorites]

Oh god, what the military needs... more acronyms...
posted by anthill at 3:35 AM on June 6, 2008

Sigh. Just about everyone that I know in the Air Force continues to be embarrassed by the newest incarnation of the Air Force "Mission Statement":

The mission of the United States Air Force is to deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests -- to fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace.

It's those last two word that cause us all to cringe.

On the other hand, it has created lots of new opportunities for humor.
posted by davidmsc at 4:41 AM on June 6, 2008

Cyber Uber Alles!
posted by kldickson at 5:55 AM on June 6, 2008

It's gotta be better than Marc Silvestri's Cyber Force.

/Still annoyed by the aftertaste of Image Comics' Kool-Aid circa 1992.
posted by autodidact at 6:52 AM on June 6, 2008

So, if this thing was doable in the terms described in the quotes of the article (the Air Force wants to see all kinds of "techniques and technologies" to "Deceive, Deny, Disrupt, Degrade, [or] Destroy" hostile system) this could mean that we are heading towards a future where the information on the Internet is controlled. Then, obviously, we are now living the Golden Age of the internet, when you can post pretty much anything you want.

Man, Mefites are going to be hard to put up with when they start ranting about the good old days.
posted by micayetoca at 7:02 AM on June 6, 2008

Our military seems to have a somewhat misguided focus on this in the context of the wars we are and expect to be fighting. I'm doing some anonymity/eavesdropping research that gets military funding. The subjects I'm working on will probably become quite important in general life as we see in increase in ad hoc/mesh/wireless networking.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, I feel it's pretty unlikely that the insurgents are going to deploy their own ad hoc network to locate strategic U.S. targets by analyzing data flows in our command and control nets. They're going to have a bunch of dudes with cell phones call the dudes with IEDs and sniper rifles when something is spotted.

My unspoken sentiment is "You're giving me all this money to do this and it's going to have great domestic applications but it's really not gonna help you guys any." That's not to say they shouldn't be concerned about securing their networks against the sort of thing I mentioned, but it does seem like they're too focused on it.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:53 AM on June 6, 2008

'cause the Taleban and al-Qaeda have these vast computer networks to hack into.

oh wait, they just hide out in the mountains. and have stymied the US offensive for years. as has the resistance in Iraq whose only piece of "high tech" equipment is a dodgy 10 year-old VHS camera.

it's sad they don't realize they've given themselves to silly movie-plot terrorism rather than actually look at where the real weaknesses are. they're not trying to fix what's broken, they're trying to guess what will break in the future. it's crap like this that weakens the US military.

how about spending that 30 billion you're going to waste on this on body and vehicle armor for the patrols in Iraq?

posted by ruthsarian at 9:09 AM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

'cause the Taleban and al-Qaeda have these vast computer networks to hack into.

You mean like the Internet? You mean the network of web sites that jihadis use to disseminate information, train and recruit. Or the financial networks that transfer funds from "charities" in first world countries to fighters in third? Hell, even the caves have computers with significant documents that have been recovered.

Jeeze...take 5 minutes before you prove conclusively you're an idiot.
posted by kjs3 at 5:00 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Cyber Command is not set up to deal with at al-Qaeda or the Taliban, it's focused primarily at China.

Trojan Dragon: China's Cyber Threat

Red storm rising: DOD’s efforts to stave off nation-state cyberattacks begin with China
Chinese Cyberwar Alert!

posted by gemmy at 6:45 PM on June 6, 2008

The worst part is that the stories about what actually happened in Cyber Command won't be declassified and turn up on until 2033.
posted by dansdata at 2:42 PM on June 7, 2008

The Cyber Command is not set up to deal with at al-Qaeda or the Taliban, it's focused primarily at China.

Speaking of China: Congressmen say Chinese hacked their PCs. Dissident locations, other sensitive data intercepted
posted by homunculus at 1:08 PM on June 17, 2008

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