WASHINGTON, July 14 (UPI) -- The Pentagon Thursday unveiled a much-anticipated cybersecurity plan that emphasizes defense in the "war domain" that is the Internet.
In an effort to tamp down criticism that U.S. cybersecurity policy has a more offensive stance than defensive, the Defense Department's first-ever cyberspace plan calls for expanded capability to thwart cyberattacks from states and non-state entities with the help of the private sector, The Hill reported.
Cyberspace is now an unequivocal "operational domain" for the military, allowing the Pentagon to "organize, train and equip for cyberspace," the document says.
"The department and the nation have vulnerabilities in cyberspace. Our reliance on cyberspace stands in stark contrast to the inadequacy of our cybersecurity."
The U.S. military, like corporations and the government, "depends on cyberspace to function," but hostile states are "working to exploit DOD unclassified and classified networks, and some foreign intelligence organizations have already acquired the capacity to disrupt elements of DOD's information infrastructure," the document says. "Moreover, non-state actors increasingly threaten to penetrate and disrupt DOD networks and systems."
The plan warns inexpensive and readily available "small-scale technologies" have an impact "disproportionate to their size" and says the Pentagon must hone its abilities to thwart data theft, denial-of-service attacks and attempts to "destroy or degrade networks or connected systems."
An Achilles' Heel of cyberspace is that most information-technology products used in the United States are "manufactured and assembled overseas."
"All of the advanced capabilities we have, whether it's targeting or navigation or communication … have a backbone that's run through information technology," Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III told reporters in Washington Thursday. "So if you're a smart adversary and you're seeking an asymmetric way to come at the United States, cyber will appear to you very, very quickly."