CyberWars: How Does the US Stack Up Against Its Adversaries?


The Chinese military stole U.S. plans to the technically sophisticated F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, allowing Beijing to create the copycat J-31. Hackers with connections to the Iranian government were charged earlier this year for attacks on U.S. banks and a dam in New York. North Korean operatives released a trove of damaging emails from Sony as the entertainment company planned to release a comedy with an unflattering portrayal of the country’s leader. And Russia is widely suspected in a hack of the Democratic National Committee that could amount to a bid to undermine the integrity of the upcoming U.S. election.

The U.S., as of right now, is not fully prepared to match incidents like these.

[In a Senate hearing, John McCain] prodded, citing former Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey’s troubling acknowledgement in January 2015 that cyber is the only major field of warfare in which the U.S. doesn’t have an advantage over its foes.

“It’s a level playing field,” the Army general said at the time, “and that makes this chairman very uncomfortable.”

When pressed on whether this was still the case, Navy Adm. Michael Rogers, the head of both the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, simply told McCain, “Yes.”




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