The United States Air Force has announced that its upgrading its current cyberwarfare capability by inviting interested potential parties to improve its capability to launch cyberattacks as well as collecting a wide range of intelligence-grade information in on-going cyberwarfare operations.
A report by Computerworld said that the Air Force is soliciting concepts and technologies that are useful in cyberwarfare offensives. The aim, according to the report, was to “disrupt, deny, degrade, destroy, or deceive an adversary’s ability to use the cyberspace domain to his advantage”.
Specific examples like technologies that can infiltrate and map enemy’s networks, hack into an adversary’s information, systems, networks, or devices, were laid out by the Air Force.
Interested parties need to submit concept papers as a first step in the process that will eventually result to the awarding of contracts that can total up to $10 million.
The move is an unconventional one for the world’s most powerful air power in the world. The U.S. military branch is not used to ask the public to enhance its cyberwarfare capabilities.
However, there is slow shift within the Air Force’s mindset for the past few months as it tries to consider the use of cyberweapons in attacking its adversaries.
One U.S. Marine General admitted that cyberwarfare has been used successfully in Afghanistan in 2010.
Lt. General Richard Mills said that he used cyberwarfare against his adversary in the country sometime in 2010 with great success.
“I was able to get inside his nets, infect his command-and-control, and in fact defend myself against his almost constant incursions to get inside my wire, to affect my operations,” he said.
He also revealed the United States Marine Corps has started to create a special unit of marines that will handle intelligence analysis, intel collection, and conduct cyberwarfare operations. The said unit will be provided to a unit that needs it to ensure cyberdomain superiority.
Even the secretive National Security Agency has started to make its intentions felt when its Director, Keith B. Alexander, invited hackers to join the NSA and or any other government agency.
Cyberwarfare is the new battleground today. Last June, the New York Times revealed that the U.S. and Israel developed and used Stuxnet malware, which targeted Iran’s nuclear facility.