The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

Patrick Shana­han, nom­i­nee for deputy sec­re­tary of de­fense, re­vealed this week that the Pen­tagon is pre­par­ing to con­front ad­ver­saries in cy­berspace.

The threat posed by ad­vanced cy­ber­war­fare ca­pa­bil­i­ties from Amer­i­can ad­ver­saries is in­creas­ing, Mr. Shana­han told the Se­nate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee.

“We face sig­nif­i­cant and var­ied chal­lenges in cy­berspace,” he stated in writ­ten an­swers to pol­icy ques­tions posed by the com­mit­tee. “Of pri­mary con­cern are the threats posed by our key ad­ver­saries and strate­gic com­peti­tors, whose ac­tiv­i­ties are in­creas­ing in com­plex­ity, sever­ity and fre­quency, and who seek to use cy­ber­ca­pa­bil­i­ties to un­der­mine U.S. mil­i­tary ad­van­tages.”

Mr. Shana­han fa­vors re­spond­ing to cy­ber­ag­gres­sion and hard­en­ing in­for­ma­tion net­works and crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture against cy­ber­at­tacks in a bid to cre­ate “cy­berde­ter­rence.”

“We must do more to de­ter our ad­ver­saries in cy­berspace,” he said. “We must con­vince our ad­ver­saries that they will suf­fer con­se­quences that out­weigh any po­ten­tial gains from con­duct­ing cy­ber­at­tacks.”

The Pen­tagon is con­duct­ing a re­view of op­tions to im­prove cy­ber­se­cu­rity and de­ter cy­ber­at­tacks. The main cy­berthreats are posed by China, Rus­sia, Iran and North Korea, U.S. of­fi­cials say.

Asked what would con­sti­tute an act of war in cy­berspace, Mr. Shana­han said the pres­i­dent is re­spon­si­ble for such as­sess­ments.

“Ma­li­cious cy­ber­ac­tiv­ity, how­ever, does not re­quire be­ing deemed an ‘act of war’ to war­rant a re­sponse,” he said. “I be­lieve that con­text is im­por­tant and that threat­en­ing cy­ber­ac­tiv­i­ties should not be viewed in iso­la­tion.”

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