The United States’ adversaries see cyber warfare as a potential American vulnerability in a military engagement, the Pentagon’s number two civilian told the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday.
Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said, “In terms of deterrence we are not where we need to be” as a nation or a department. In answer to a question, he said many DOD “systems were not built” to meet today’s threat. The same holds true for installations, Terry Halvorsen, acting DOD chief of information, testified.
Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of Cyber Command, added, “We are being challenged as never before.” In cyber, he identified Russia as a peer competitor with the United States and China and other nations, such as Iran and North Korea, actively developing a broad range of cyber capabilities.
He said his command “is trying to overcome decades of investment” decisions to build up resiliency and redundancy in DOD capabilities.
Rogers said in answer to a question that his greatest concerns were cyber being used to seriously damage or destroy critical infrastructure, shifting intrusions from stealing of information to manipulating data, and terrorist groups using the Internet as an offensive weapon.
At a Senate hearing on Tuesday, James Clapper, director of national intelligence, said, “What we could expect next is data manipulation, which then calls into question the integrity of the data [from financial transactions to the power grid, etc.], which in many ways is more insidious than the attacks we’ve suffered thus far.”