US appoints cyber warfare general

May 24, 2010 // 11:17 a.m.

Tags: #cyber-command #cyberwar #cyberwarfare #cyber-warfare #government #ice #internet #military #us-cyber-command

The US military has made a landmark appointment by creating the post of senior general in charge of cyber warfare - the first such post to be confirmed in any military world-wide.

As reported over on The Guardian, US General Keith Alexander has been chosen to lead the US Cyber Command division, designed to take control of world-wide computer networks in the event of war.

General Alexander's division is responsible for both the defense of American military computer networks and also for any offensive measures that the military feels justified in carrying out against the opposing force in a combat scenario.

It is thought that around 30,000 US Air Force members have recently been drafted from the force's technical divisions to bolster the ranks of the US Cyber Command, giving General Alexander a formidable force to command.

General Alexander has stated before a Senate committee that the Cyber Command would not "contribute to the militarisation of cyberspace," but there are already growing concerns - from both sides of the fence - of the role the US military is taking in the growth of worldwide computer networks - and in particular the Internet.

It is believed that the sudden and public commitment to digital warfare by the US military is a response to a perceived increase in the threat from foreign nations - in particular the recent accusations of cracking attacks originating from China against Google and other companies, which it is believed - although never proven - were the responsibility of the Chinese government itself with the aim of uncovering details of Chinese civil rights activists.

With the Internet representing an important tool in both military and civilian life, it's clear that governments are starting to take its defense seriously - and, more worryingly, looking towards computer networks as the battlegrounds of the future.

Do you applaud the US government's creation of the Cyber Command, or does the militarisation of the Internet give you cause for concern - no matter who might be leading the way? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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