Navy preps to launch offensive cyberattacks

Navy preps to launch offensive cyberattacks

The Navy will prepare to launch offensive cyberattacks under a new, soon-to-be-released cyber strategy, a top official said Tuesday.

Kevin Cooley, executive director and command information officer for Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet, suggested that the service is gearing up for the possibility that the White House will order offensive cyberattacks.

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"You don't win a knife fight without swinging a knife," Cooley said at a C4ISR & Networks conference in Arlington, Va., on Tuesday.

"We're spending time making sure we're ready to execute should those options be considered appropriate by national command authority to do that.”

U.S. corporate executives, security researchers and lawmakers have expressed a desire for the United States to go on offense against its adversaries online.

Intelligence agencies are already engaged in some offensive cyber activities, but not to the satisfaction of the business community, which is under constant attack from China, Russia and other countries.

Cooley said the Navy will prepare for cyber offense orders in addition to four other key initiatives, including developing the service’s cyber forces. 

He called cyberspace a “warfare domain.”

“Just like in other warfare domains we have the capability to be tactically offensive and tactically defensive [and] strategically offensive and strategically defensive,” he said, according to C4ISR & Networks, which reported his comments.

“Being open about that capability is an important part of transparency that we acknowledge in any other form of warfare.”