The Pentagon And Cyber Defense, Cyber Warnings

New alarms about the risk of cyber attack as the Pentagon calls for more cyber warriors.

 The Pentagon, seen from Air Force One. (AP)

The Pentagon, seen from Air Force One. (AP)

Heads-up remarks from two of America’s highest-ranking national security figures recently on cyber security.

First came Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense, warning that the United States in vulnerable to a “cyber Pearl Harbor ” – an Internet attack on infrastructure that could shock and disable the nation.

Then came Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano, just last week, saying a “cyber 9.11” could happen “imminently.” Then news that the Pentagon is looking to sharply expand its force of cyber warriors.

This hour, On Point: cyber warnings, cyber force, and cyber security now.

-Tom Ashbrook


Ellen Nakashima, national security reporter for the Washington Post. (@nakashimae)

Herbert Thompson, program chair of the RAS Conference, the world’s biggest information security conference. Senior vice president and chief security strategist at Blue Coat, a web security company based out of Silicon Valley.

James Lewis, senior fellow and director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (@james_a_lewis)

Closing Segment On Chuck Hagel’s Nomination for Secretary of Defense

Maggie Haberman, senior political writer for Politico. (@maggiepolitico)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Washington Post “The Pentagon has approved a major expansion of its cybersecurity force over the next several years, increasing its size more than fivefold to bolster the nation’s ability to defend critical computer systems and conduct offensive computer operations against foreign adversaries, according to U.S. officials.”

Slate “There is one number that matters most in cybersecurity. No, it’s not the amount of money you’ve spent beefing up your information technology systems. And no, it’s not the number of PowerPoint slides needed to describe the sophisticated security measures protecting those systems, or the length of the encryption keys used to encode the data they hold. It’s really much simpler than that. The most important number in cybersecurity is how many people are mad at you.”

Business Insider “Iran responded to a 2010 cyber attack on its nuclear facilities by beefing up its own cyber capabilities, and will be a “force to be reckoned with” in the future, a senior U.S. Air Force official told reporters on Thursday.”

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