0

The funding fight for cyber weapons and personnel

US Air Force Thunderbirds fly over during pre-race ceremonies a NASCAR event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 10, 2013.

The Pentagon won't say what they are, but the Air Force has now officially designated six cyber technologies as "weapons." 

"This means that the game-changing capability [of] cyber is going to get more attention and the recognition that it deserves," said Lieutenant General John Hyten, vice commander of the Air Force Space Command.

Recognition and money, since military budgets tend to favor weapons.

"At the same time that there is this mounting pressure and competition for resources within the Pentagon budget, the U.S. government and intelligence agencies are reporting an exponential growth in the number of cyberattacks," says Reuters correspondent Andrea Shalal-Esa.

Shalal-Esa says putting the weapons label on certain cyber systems is about making computer warfare mainstream inside the Pentagon.

"It's all about normalizing, that this is a war fighting domain -- along with air, land, sea, space, and now cyber space," says Shalal-Esa.

If cyber warfare technology brings funding, the government will need to attract talent, and that could be a challenge.

"To really become a specialist in cyber-security, it takes a pretty strong technical background, says Professor John Moore, head of the Math and Computer Science department at South Carolina military college The Citadel. "Not everybody wants to go through that, but people respond to the needs of the United States and the needs of the military, and of course where the funding is."

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio
Log in to post0 Comments
With Generous Support From...