U.S. Air Force Labels Cybersecurity Tools as 'Weapons'

The change is a sign that the U.S. increasingly views cyberspace as a theater of war.


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The U.S. Air Force has designated certain cybersecurity tools as "weapons." That makes it easier for the Pentagon to get funding for cybersecurity operations, but it also indicates that the military views cyberspace as an arena for warfare.

Andrea Shalal-Esa with Reuters reported, "The U.S. Air Force has designated six cyber tools as weapons, which should help the programs compete for increasingly scarce dollars in the Pentagon budget, an Air Force official said on Monday. Lieutenant General John Hyten, vice commander of Air Force Space Command, which oversees satellite and cyberspace operation, said the new designations would help normalize military cyber operations as the U.S. military works to keep up with rapidly changing threats in the newest theater of war."

The Register quoted Hyten, who said, "This means that the game-changing capability that cyber is is going to get more attention and the recognition that it deserves."

CNET's Steven Musil added, "Hyten, who said the Air Force was working to integrate cybercapabilities with other weapons, offered no details on the new cyberweapons. The Air Force plans to increase its cyber workforce by 20 percent, adding 1,200 people to its current 6,000, he said. 'We have to do this quickly. We cannot wait,' he said."

InformationAge's Pete Swabey commented, "Reframing security tools as weapons suggests that the US military is warming to the idea of using its cyber capabilities aggressively."

Tags: cybersecurity, government, Air Force, U.S., cyberspace

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