SHANAHAN ON CYBERTHREATS
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.”