The Pentagon has announced that computer intrusions from abroad are to be considered acts of war against the United States and will be answered with conventional military force.
“If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” a military official told The Wall Street Journal. In part, the Pentagon intends its plan as a warning to potential adversaries of the consequences of attacking the U.S., according to the Journal.
The Pentagon document is 30 pages in its classified version and 12 pages in the unclassified one. It concludes that the Laws of Armed Conflict are applicable in cyberspace as in traditional warfare.
The Pentagon established a new command last year, headed by Gen. Keith B. Alexander, director of the NSA, to consolidate military network security and attack efforts. Alexander told the Washington Post last November that the new outfit wants maneuvering room to mount what he called “the full spectrum” of operations in cyberspace.