February 14th, 2008
Another mulibillion dollar boondoggle.
In the Wired piece below, there’s just one voice of reason. John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, says, “They’ve got the whole thing tarted up, and it’s hard to tell what they’re actually doing.”
That’s it. He gets it.
Information Warfare is part of the military industrial complex now, but look into it and what you’ll find is that most of the “business” exists atop a false assumption: That the physical infrastructure will remain intact (no Magic Anchor jokes, please).
Spend $2 billion, $10 billion or $100 billion. It wouldn’t change the fact that .mil IS POWERLESS to stop highly motivated individuals from attacking undefended, critical infrastructure.
Why don’t “the terrorists” pull the plug on the intertubes?
Well, “the terrorists” don’t do it because taking out the infrastructure isn’t part of the plan to milk billions of dollars worth of pork for a good, old fashioned boondoggle. Wired continues to get it wrong by saying that, “logic bombs, Trojan horses, worms and bots,” are the weapons to be concerned about.
Why doesn’t Wired mention places like Manasquan, New Jersey, Boca Raton, Florida and San Louis Obispo, California in their cyberwar articles? Why doesn’t the reporter ask the Big Cheese Cyberwar General how his multibillion dollar charlie foxtrot is going to prevent people—armed with public information and little else—from doing bad things to the fiber?
“Well, I… errr…uh… Interview is over. Get out and don’t come back.”
When a reporter enters the Air Force office of William Lord, a smile comes quickly to the two-star general’s face as he darts from behind his immaculate desk to shake hands. Then, as an afterthought, he steps back and shuts his laptop as though holstering a sidearm.
Lord, boyish and enthusiastic, is a new kind of Air Force warrior — the provisional chief of the service’s first new major command since the early 1990s, the Cyber Command. With thousands of posts and enough bandwidth to choke a horse, the Cyber Command is dedicated to the proposition that the next war will be fought in the electromagnetic spectrum, and that computers are military weapons. In a windowless building across the base, Lord’s cyber warriors are already perched 24 hours a day before banks of monitors, scanning Air Force networks for signs of hostile incursion.
“We have to change the way we think about warriors of the future,” Lord enthuses, raising his jaw while a B-52 traces the sky outside his windows. “So if they can’t run three miles with a pack on their backs but they can shut down a SCADA system, we need to have a culture where they fit in.”
But before Lord and his geek warriors can settle in for the wars of the future, the general has to survive a battle of a decidedly different nature: a political and cultural tug of war over where the Cyber Command will set up its permanent headquarters. And that, for Lord and the Air Force, is where things get trickier than a Chinese Trojan horse.
With billions of dollars in contracts and millions in local spending on the line, 15 military towns from Hampton, Virginia, to Yuba City, California, are vying to win the Cyber Command, throwing in offers of land, academic and research tie-ins, and, in one case, an $11 million building with a moat. At a time when Cold War-era commands laden with aging aircraft are shriveling, the nascent Cyber Command is universally seen as a future-proof bet for expansion, in an era etched with portents of cyberwar.