DARPA Outlines Plans To Develop Cyber Weapons

DARPA Outlines Plans To Develop Cyber Weapons

The Pentagon’s advanced research agency is working on new cyber weapons designed to give commanders a tactical edge on future battlefields.

The head of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, known as DARPA, laid out the agencies “framework” for the future Wednesday in attempt to deal with the emerging threats and fiscal uncertainty on the horizon.

“We are building a future in which our warfighers can use cyber tools as tactical weapons that are fully integrated in the kinetic fight,” said Arati Prabhakar, director of DARPA.


While she didn’t offer a lot of details, Prabhakar also said DARPA is building a “new generation of electronic warfare that will leap frog what others around the world are doing with available technology.”

Another new initiative at DARPA involves building “a new suite of technologies for position, navigation and timing so that our people and our platforms won’t continue to be dangerously reliant on GPS,” Prabhakar said.

Cyber security has become a great concern among defense officials and lawmakers. A well-executed cyber attack can paralyze a country’s economy as well as communications and other key infrastructures.

As effective as cyber can be, it’s also unreliable and difficult to control, Prabhakar said. DARPA scientists are working on “Plan X,” an effort to build the technology infrastructure “that would allow cyber to move from the world we are in today where it is a fine hand-crafted capability that requires exclusive authorities to do anything with, that when you launch it into the world you hope that it is going to do what you think it is going to do, but you really don’t know.”

The goal is to “to move to a future where cyber is a capability like other weapons capabilities,” Prabhakar said. “A military operator can design and deploy a cyber effect, know what it is going to accomplish, do battle damage assessment and measure what it has accomplished.”

Prabhakar gave no time estimate for when the concept could become reality, but seemed optimistic.

“There is a lot of hard technology to build from here to there, but I think it is going to be a huge game changer,” she said.

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“We are building a future in which our warfighers [blight_: Obvious sic] can use cyber tools as tactical weapons that are fully integrated in the kinetic fight”

Sounds like blahblah to me. I suppose if our opponents start using mIRC to coordinate troops on ad-hoc 802.11 hotspots…

Being a former Marine and Army National Guard Helicopter Crewman, I was never exposed to the USAF. But maybe someone from there could answer my question.….Why do so many officers wear flight suits and they are not flying? When I travel to DC, I see Air Force officers very frequently wearing a flight suit. But I see the Navy and Marine Corps wearing normal work uniforms. Also I see the Army (officer & enlisted) and AF enlisted wearing BDU’s in public, which as a Marine we never could wear them off base.

Yes We Can: But we are behind the power curve. Five years ago the PRC shut down San Pablo, Brazil. No Power,Radio, Television,Cell Phones. The only thing the Brazilians could do was watch their grass grow. China was wondering if they could and they did. Can we shut down Shanghai, I wondering. But it would be nice to watch Chinese tanks only able to run in reverse.

They wear those uniforms cause that’s what thier service chiefs & chains of command told them they could wear. At least in the AF, those assigned to the Air Staff wear class Bs except on Fridays. I believe the Army does the opposite. Folks assigned to the Joint Staff wear class Bs all the time.

Anything called Plan X has my full support based on 1950’s B scifi movie rating criteria.

Is this the picture of the cyber warriors and why they wanted their own medal? Oh well that is IP and when we were protecting serial communications that did not count. We have created this security monster and it is going to break us financially.

Because they want people to think they fly fighter jets, because flying jets is cool, and clicking a keyboard is not.

“Five years ago the PRC shut down San Pablo, Brazil.”

Link or it didn’t happen. I did a quick Web search, and found nothing corroborating this. Proof of a foreign entity shutting down a whole city in Brazil would have made the news. As of last year, the “biggest cyber attack” Brazil had ever faced, according to many news articles, was a non-state group (LulzSec) shutting down several government Web sites, and gaining some private contribution records and contact info — far less severe.

I keep hearing about reports about cyber vulnerabilities, but every time I look into them, other than DDOS attacks shutting down Web sites (or sometimes other services such as banks — which aren’t the end of the world if they’re offline), I find smoke and mirrors. (In particular, utilities will continue to function if their network feeds are cut off, and emergency services have “offline” radio for dispatch precisely because the public Internet might go down in an emergency, whether naturally or artificially caused.)

As for cyber weapons, that presumes an opponent that has a cyber infrastructure that can be targeted. That’s a fantasy unless we’re planning to go to war with Canada, Europe, or a few other similarly-presently-unlikely opponents such as Australia. Even China and Russia don’t use the Internet to nearly the same degree, nor are they likely to this side of 2033, to say nothing of non-state actors who are our far more likely opponents in the near future.

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