Inside the Ring: CyberCom chief on digital war training
by BILL GERTZ
July 12, 2012
Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the commander of the new U.S. Cyber Command, this week defended the creation of the military's digital war-fighting command and its training of cyberwarriors for future high-tech combat.
Asked by a Chinese reporter about the training of U.S. military personnel for cyberwarfare, including the Air Force's recent graduation of the first six dedicated cyberwarriors, Gen. Alexander said:
"I think defending our country in cyberspace is one of our most important missions ... to ensure that we're secure."
The four-star general, who also heads the super-secret electronic spying National Security Agency, also said the president and secretary of state recently outlined the limits of U.S. cyberwarfare efforts. He paraphrased the two officials as saying that "we'll respond to those attacks in different forms."
"And so from our perspective, we need a trained and ready force to defend this country," Gen. Alexander said. "And we're doing that. And it's not just military: It's military and civilian. We have some great technical capabilities here, and I think we've got to set those."
Gen. Alexander said one priority is to "stop the theft of intellectual property and other things that are going on."
He sidestepped a question about the threat to the United States posed by aggressive Chinese cyberintrusions and data theft.
Asked about the Chinese cyberthreat, he quipped: "Yes. Did you want a longer answer?"
Gen. Alexander then said it was difficult in an "unclassified environment" to talk about Chinese cyberthreats, but noted that statistically both the United States and China have the largest numbers of computers and related devices.
"There's the greatest probability, then, that those devices are going to be used for disruptive, destructive and other forms, so we both have to get together and figure out a way forward," he said.
"And I believe ... the theft of intellectual property is astounding, and we've got to figure out how to stop that," he added, following a speech to the American Enterprise Institute.
PACOM CHIEF ON CHINA
The new commander of the U.S. military forces in the Pacific told a Chinese military-affiliated television station recently that one of his major goals is to prevent a military "miscalculation" between the United States and China.
Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, head of the Pacific Command, also sought to play down U.S. concerns about China's growing military power, during a recent interview with Hong Kong's Phoenix Television, whose CEO and chairman is former People's Liberation Army propaganda official Liu Changle.