“If we can have a robust public discussion of nuclear weapons why not a robust discussion of cyberstrategy?” says Jim Lewis, director of the Technology and Public Policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “Up until now, cyber has been kind of ad hoc. What they’re doing now is saying that this is going to be a normal part of US military operations.”
The US is already engaged in offensive cyberwar. Media reports claim that the US helped develop and deploy the Stuxnet digital worm, which inflicted serious harm on Iran’s uranium enrichment program.
In his most wide-ranging speech to date on cyber warfare Thursday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hinted at the need for increased offensive capabilities, warning that America “won’t succeed in preventing a cyber attack through improved defenses alone.”