"This legal review of cyberweapons has been far too slow, too lawyer-and-State Department-ridden," says Stewart Baker, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security and now a partner at Steptoe & Johnson, a Washington law firm. "What we've needed is a faster process that allows us to actually come up with a strategy for actually winning a cyberconflict. But this is clearly a step in the right direction. It's clear that cyberweapons are going to be used. If so, then we need to be better at using them than our adversaries."
Defending the nation from cyberattack was a priority reflected in the formal establishment of US Cyber Command in 2009. But whether cyberweapons truly fit into and complied with international legal norms and structures such as the International Law of Armed Conflict, which sets humanitarian norms during war – has been a question mark.
Debate over US cyberweapons policy for DOD was in full swing in early 2009. As in the past, when critical military policy questions were at stake, the Pentagon threw the problem over to the Defense Science Board and the Defense Policy Board to analyze and develop a cyberwar-fighting policy structure, cyberexperts told the Monitor.