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Pentagon Cyber Warfare Strategy Drafting in ‘Final Stages’

The U.S. Defense Department is in the ‘final stages’ of drafting a strategy for cyber warfare that refines for military commanders a broad White House policy that equates such attacks with armed assaults on the nation.

Marine Corps Colonel David Lapan, a spokesman at the Pentagon, told reporters today the new “Defense Strategy for Operating in Cyber Space,” also known as Cyber 3.0, will be completed in two or three weeks.

The White House on May 17 announced that cyber attacks ranked with military threats against the nation and “when warranted, the U.S. will respond to hostile acts in cyber space as we would with any other threats to our country.”

The White House policy did not “rule out” a military response, Lapan said. “A response to a cyber incident to the U.S. would not necessarily be a cyber response,” he said, declining to give specifics.

The White House International Strategy for Cyberspace calls for the U.S. government to work with other countries on standards to protect intellectual property, prevent theft of private information and ensure cooperation among law enforcement agencies when cybercrime is investigated.

The strategy states that the U.S. reserves “the right to use all necessary means -- diplomatic, informational, military and economic -- as appropriate and consistent with international law,” to defend itself and its allies.

According to the White House policy, “if we are attacked we reserve the right to do any number of things in response just like we do” with physical attacks, Lapan said.

“Cyber would be viewed the same way. The military option is always an option. There are other things we can do” but the Pentagon strategy won’t “lay out ‘if this happens, then this will happen,’” Lapan said.

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