U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John Davis, a policy adviser for the military, said cybersecurity was fast becoming one of the country's top national security priorities.
"We will deter, disrupt and deny adversary cyberspace operations that threaten vital U.S. interests when approved by the president and directed by the secretary of defense," he was quoted Monday by the Pentagon as saying at a defense conference in Maryland. "If a crippling cyberattack is launched against our nation, the Department of Defense must be ready for an order from the commander in chief to act."
The Chinese government was accused by the United States of targeting military information using computer technology.
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, introduced a bill this year with co-sponsors Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.; and Tom Coburn, R-Okla. -- the Deter Cybertheft Act -- requiring the director of national intelligence to produce a watch list of countries allegedly engaged on cyberespionage.
NBC News reported last week retired Gen. James Hoss Cartwright is accused of revealing information to the media about a U.S. computer attack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]