As part of her confirmation hearing for Assistant Defense Secretary for Global Strategic Affairs, Senators asked Madelyn Creedon to define the grounds under which the U.S. would retaliate against a cyber attack. Although the Pentagon released their first official plans for cybersecurity defense last week, actual reasons for going to war were vague. The Hill reports: "Several times, Creedon told the panel she needed to closely review U.S. laws that spell out what Washington has traditionally regarded as an act of war. But under questioning from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), she finally acknowledged that when it comes to acts in the electronic realm, 'the policy is unclear.'"

So this is going to be tricky. It's a little like fighting terrorism in that there are no borders or uniforms or standing armies. But cyberwar goes in other directions as well: there is little physical evidence either. If the United States gets involved in a heavy conflict against a technologically advanced country, cyberwar will be a huge part of it. Maybe someone ought to figure out what it is.

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