Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The Pentagon is to spend $30 Billion building a super secret "National Cyber Range" in order to prepare for all out cyber warfare by using it to conduct mock online battles with realistic info-warriors.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), previously responsible for the development of electronic surveillance programs such as Total Information Awareness and MATRIX, LifeLog and the Brain Machine Interfaces enterprise, has been ordered by Congress to create what is essentially a new internet as a cyberspace battleground.
Wired.com has reported "According to a defense official familiar with the program: ‘Congress has given DARPA a direct order; that’s only happened once before — with the Sputnik program in the ’50s’"
The NCR will not only allow for defense from electronic attack, but will also allow offensive strikes against "adversaries online". It is rumored to be the keystone of a so called "Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative", created via a secret presidential order in January.
A request for proposals, released by DARPA yesterday outlined how the agency wants the NCR to be able to "realistically replicate human behavior and frailties," and feature "realistic, sophisticated, nation-state quality offensive and defensive opposition forces".
The NCR’s operators should be able to "integrate, replicate, or simulate" military satellite and digital radio communications, mobile ad-hoc networks, physical access control systems, U.S. and foreign "unmanned aerial vehicles, weapons, [and] radar systems" — even "cyber cafes" and "personal digital assistances [sic]." the proposal states.
A previous notice outlined that the NCR would allow the Pentagon to:
• Conduct unbiased, quantitative and qualitative assessment of information assurance and survivability tools in a representative network environment.
• Replicate complex, large-scale, heterogeneous networks and users in current and future Department of Defense (DoD) weapon systems and operations.
• Enable multiple, independent, simultaneous experiments on the same infrastructure.
• Enable realistic testing of Internet/Global-Information-Grid (GIG) scale research.
• Develop and deploy revolutionary cyber testing capabilities.
• Enable the use of the scientific method for rigorous cyber testing.
The project is so secret that it has been referred to as an electronic"Manhattan Project". The Senate Homeland Security committee, a key Senate oversight panel has cited concerns about the secrecy around the project and has been forced to write to the DHS to request basic information on the project.
Commentators have speculated that the entire project may be a huge new part of the federal government’s so called "terrorist surveillance program", which has so far only been shown to constitute cyberwarfare against everyday Americans via warrantless wiretapping and interception of communications.
"Why might citizens be worried about privacy and civil liberties? Consider that the whole initiative appears to have been launched after the Director of National Intelligence told the President Bush that a cyber attack might wreak as much economic havoc as 9/11 did. Consider that the NSA, which currently protects classified networks, wants to expand into protecting all non-classified federal government networks. Consider that Congress is set to legalize the NSA’s monitoring rooms in the nation’s phone and internet infrastructure. For its part, the FBI says it also needs access to the internet’s backbone, while the Air Force is hyping its own efforts at cyber defense and offense. […]
Now it seems the only question is whether the government will be able to turn the net into a controllable, monitorable and trackable pre-internet AOL-type service or whether the chaotic net will live on as just another frontier for the military-industrial complex to start an arm’s race and rake in billions of government dollars."
Could this be the Pentagon’s ultimate "solution" to counter the internet, an arena of freedom and progress that military strategists now view as a bastard child they let slip from their grasp some twenty or so years ago?
While Homeland Security head Chertoff has denied that the project is part of a vast effort to restrict or "sit on the internet", the Pentagon has previously made it clear that the internet, free of restriction and holding such potential for free speech, is in direct opposition to their goals.
The Pentagon has stressed that the internet needs to be dealt with as if it were an enemy "weapons system".
Recently, a document entitled Information Operation Roadmap (PDF) was declassified by the Pentagon due to a Freedom of Information Act request by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
One portion of the document states:
“Information, always important in warfare, is now critical to military success and will only become more so in the foreseeable future….. Information operations should be centralized under the Office of the Secretary of Defence and made a core military competency."
"Objective: IO [information operations] becomes a core competency. The importance of dominating the information spectrum explains the objective of transforming IO into a core military competency on a par with air, ground, maritime and special operations. The charge to the IO Roadmap oversight panel was to develop as concrete a set of action recommendations as possible to make IO a core competency, which in turn required identifying the essential prerequisites to become a core military competency."
Another section of the document focuses on what is referred to as "Computer Network Attack":
"When implemented the recommendations of this report will effectively jumpstart a rapid improvement of CNA [Computer Network Attack] capability." – 7
"Enhanced IO [information operations] capabilities for the warfighter, including: … A robust offensive suite of capabilities to include full-range electronic and computer network attack…" – 7
While other sections urge the Department of Defense to "Fight the Net":
"We Must Fight the Net. DoD [Department of Defense] is building an information-centric force. Networks are increasingly the operational center of gravity, and the Department must be prepared to "fight the net." " – 6
"DoD’s "Defense in Depth" strategy should operate on the premise that the Department will "fight the net" as it would a weapons system." – 13
A previous document that echoes such sentiments is the now infamous Rebuilding America’s Defences by The Project for a New American Century (PNAC). In this 2000 document those that would go on to become the nucleus of the Bush administration stated:
"It is now commonly understood that information and other new technologies… are creating a dynamic that may threaten America’s ability to exercise its dominant military power." – 4
"Control of space and cyberspace. Much as control of the high seas – and the protection of international commerce – defined global powers in the past, so will control of the new "international commons" be a key to world power in the future. An America incapable of protecting its interests or that of its allies in space or the "infosphere" will find it difficult to exert global political leadership." – 51
"Although it may take several decades for the process of transformation to unfold, in time, the art of warfare on air, land, and sea will be vastly different than it is today, and "combat" likely will take place in new dimensions: in space, "cyber-space," and perhaps the world of microbes." – 60
The importance of information warfare is clearly laid out in both these documents. Brent Jessop, a regular contributor to Infowars.net and Prisonplanet.com has exhaustively documented the phenomenon of “Full Spectrum Information Warfare” in a four part series of articles.
We have also previously documented the existing moves to kill off the internet as we know it today by the federal government.
Note that the enemy is never specifically named, it is merely whoever uses the net, because the enemy IS the net. The enemy is the freedom the net provides to billions around the globe and the threat to militaristic dominance of information and the ultimate power that affords.
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