(shortly after this original post, I found out that the UK government is already taking major steps towards “cyber soldiers“)
There has been a recent flurry of news about the new digital battlefield. What branch of the military is equipped to handle cyber warfare? None. There needs to be a new “Nerd Corps” established to enlist the services of a distributed network of elite hackers to identify security threats and prevent them. This is not a task for a centralized secretive agency like the CIA, it should be a reserve army of highly trained citizen soldiers.
More and more functions are becoming “unmanned” so the Ender’s Game joystick skills will still be important for drone attacks. But this is very similar actually to traditional fighter pilot skills without the physical requirements for g-force tolerance and eye sight. What I’m talking about here is the hacker.
There will always be cyber elite strike forces like those that built and delivered stuxnet
But the battlefield is not just about specific hacks, it is about the monitoring, control or propagation of ideas. DARPA has funded research in order to understand the spread of dangerous ideas. After the Arab Spring, nobody can question anymore the power of social media to foment revolution, and the power of phones to report results.
At the same time we remain highly vulnerable to attack.
The national guard is ramping up training programs for “information technology” but i really don’t think that training the existing reserve base is the way to approach this.
Does it make sense to have military retaliation to a cyber attack as the pentagon has suggested? Why not have a standing army of hackers to take down sites of the enemy? Instead of being permanent and life threatening, they can be debilitating, but completely repairable.
There is a new arms race coming, but it is not in the remote regions of space – it is in the highly accessible realm of the computer in front of you. This is not a battle that can be one with single deployment viruses, it will require an army of hackers to keep our country safe.
Now, I can’t wait for that national guard ad to air!