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Presidential cyberwar directive gives Pentagon long-awaited marching orders (+video)

The 18-page, Top Secret 'Presidential Policy Directive 20' instructs the Pentagon to draw up a cyberwar target list and to protect US infrastructure from foreign cyberattack.

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The US Defense Department has been given a bright green light to draw up a global cyberattack target list at which it can deploy digital weapons with “little or no warning to the adversary or the target,” according to a Top Secret policy document leaked to the press.

The policy document, dubbed “Presidential Policy Directive 20” or PPD-20, is an 18-page cyberpolicy roadmap for the Pentagon that directs it to get on with the business of defending the US and its critical infrastructure, such as the power grid and financial sector, from foreign cyberattack.

While the existence of the document and its broad outlines were revealed in news reports last fall, and a “fact sheet” on PPD-20 was released in January, the detailed policy document leaked at week’s end shows the unleashing of a military juggernaught.

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Military use of cyberweapons had been paused for about three years, waiting for the end of an intense policy debate and for orders to move ahead with force into cyberspace, cybersecurity experts say.

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