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New Defense Bill Authorizes US Government To Launch “Defensive” Cyber Attacks


Within the chairman’s mark of the 2012 Defense Authorization bill is language that would allow DoD to carry out clandestine operations in cyberspace against targets located outside the United States and to defend against all attacks on DoD assets.

“In particular, this section (962) would clarify that the Secretary of Defense has the authority to conduct clandestine cyberspace activities in support of military operations pursuant to the Authorization for the Use of Military Force….outside of the United States or to defend against a cyber attack on an asset of the Department of Defense.”

According to the mark up, terrorists “are increasingly using the internet to exercise command and control,” and to spread technical information enabling attacks on U.S. and coalition forces, often from the relative safety of “distributed sanctuaries throughout the world. As a result, military activities may not be confined to a physical battlefield, and the use of military cyber activities has become a critical part of the effort to protect U.S. and coalition forces and combat terrorism globally.”

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