Well it’s about time they did something.
Courtesy of Stars and Stripes:
Military cyber officials are developing information warfare tactics that could be deployed against senior Russian officials and oligarchs if Moscow tries to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections through hacking election systems or sowing widespread discord, according to current and former U.S. officials.
One option being explored by U.S. Cyber Command would target senior leadership and Russian elites, though likely not President Vladimir Putin, which would be considered too provocative, said the current and former officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. The idea would be to show that the target’s sensitive, personal data could be hit if the interference did not stop, though officials declined to be more specific.
“When the Russians put implants into an electric grid, it means they’re making a credible showing that they have the ability to hurt you if things escalate,” said Bobby Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin. “What may be contemplated here is an individualized version of that, not unlike individually targeted economic sanctions. It’s sending credible signals to key decision-makers that they are vulnerable if they take certain adversarial actions.”
In the past year, Congress and the Trump administration have eased restraints on the military’s use of cyber-operations to thwart foreign adversaries. The push is part of a move by military officials such as Gen. Paul Nakasone, who heads both CyberCom and the National Security Agency, the government’s powerful electronic surveillance arm, to weave cyber-offensive capabilities into military operations.
The 10-year-old command’s foray into influence operations reflects an evolution in thinking. “It’s a really big deal because we have not done a good job in the past of integrating traditional information warfare with cyber-operations,” Chesney said. “But as Russia has demonstrated, these two are increasingly inseparable in practice.”
While other military organizations, such as Joint Special Operations Command, also have cyber and information warfare capabilities, CyberCom is the first to turn such powers toward combating election interference.
This is sort of like fighting a war by individually targeting the generals and politicians responsible for he war on the other side.
Part me feels like this is cheating in some ways, but then again to fight and win a war without a single human casualty also seems like a form of progress.
I just worry that if we escalate the cyber wars in this way that Russia, and perhaps China, will also do the same.
Of course, now that I think about it Russia has probably already done this very same thing, which would help to explain why folks like Lindsey Graham have caved so completely when it comes to speaking out about Russian interference or calling out Trump for his numerous indiscretions and ignorant remarks.