The Pentagon plans to bring warfare into the 22nd century, creating a new system to "map" the digital battlefield of cyberspace, defining a playbook for deploying cyberweapons and designating a management facility in Arlington, Va. to bring it all together.
It’s called Plan X, and it makes one thing very clear: Cyberwar is the future.
On Nov. 20, Pentagon research arm DARPA -- short for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency -- released a document called “Foundational Cyberwarfare (Plan X),” a 52-page outline of how to fight a cyberwar. Its heart is a new map of cyberspace, a real-time rendering of the world of computers and how they connect -- switches, bridges, nodes and so on. It then seeks “support platforms” that can deploy cyberweapons, measure damage, strengthen defenses and communicate.
“The Department of Defense (DoD) has developed superior capabilities over decades in the physical domains of land, sea, air, and space,” the document explains. “When called upon, the U.S. military must have equally superior capabilities to rapidly plan, execute, and assess the full spectrum of military operations in cyberspace.”
These range from espionage against private industry to attacks like the Stuxnet worm that hit Iran’s nuclear efforts in 2010. And it’s the new world of warfighting, said Andrew Serwin, a member of the advisory board of the Naval Post Graduate School's Center for Asymmetric Warfare and an expert on cyberwarfare.
“You’re at a time where large physical war is winding down, and that physical domain is giving way to the cyberdomain,”