Operation will be testing lab for cyber war capabilities
U.S. military forces are expected to roll out new cyber warfare capabilities during the anticipated military strike on Syria for its use of a deadly nerve agent, according to military sources.
Targets of cyber attacks likely will include electronic command and control systems used by the Syrian military forces, air defense computers, and other military communications networks.
A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on the use of cyber warfare attacks.
Cyber warfare capabilities are the responsibility of the new U.S. Cyber Command, a subcommand of the U.S. Strategic Command that has been ramping up both personnel and capabilities over the past several years.
Cyber command specialists are now involved in war planning by U.S. Central Command. The Central Command is in charge of the military operation against Syria that is currently led by at least five guided-missile destroyers now based in waters near Syria.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, a former deputy chief of staff for intelligence, said he expects cyber attacks to be part of the strikes.
“Desired outcomes or ‘ends’ should lead the discussion of ways and means,” Deptula told the Free Beacon. “To modify Assad’s behavior to cease use of chemical weapons, cyber operations offer a variety of options that could have that kind of effect without the negative consequences of kinetic attacks.”
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, said cyber attacks will enhance the effectiveness of cruise missile strikes and degrade or disrupt air defenses.
“Cyber operations will be used to increase the success of the cruise missiles,” McInerney said. “Syria has a sophisticated air defense system that will require all our tools for success.”
Syria’s air defenses are mainly Russian and Chinese, and a state-run Russian news report this week said that the Damascus regime may have obtained S-300 advanced air and missile defenses covertly from China or Iran.
Foreign military spies from Russia and China are expected to step up activities in and around Syria to watch and learn from the U.S. military operations. China’s military has schooled its forces based on joint warfare by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Reports from the region indicate Syria has been moving its forces and hiding military assets over the past week in anticipation of a U.S. attack.
Obama said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has told him a military attack is not urgently needed. As a result, “we are prepared to strike whenever we choose,” the president said.
The National Security Agency, which is co-located with Cyber Command at Fort Meade, Md., is responsible for preparing the battlefield for cyber attacks through its program to conduct foreign intrusions that plan hardware or software in target computer systems. An NSA group responsible for the activities is called the Tailored Access Operations group that designs attacks for specific targets.
According to the documents, GENIE will control some 85,000 computer implants around the world.
A more advanced program called TURBINE, will seek to work with millions of foreign network implants for both spying and cyber attacks.
The report said NSA operates Remote Operations Centers at Fort Meade as well as in Georgia, Texas, Colorado, and Hawaii that employ hackers for computer attack operations.
The report quoted one document as stating that ROC operators provide “specific target related technical and operational material (identification/recognition), tools, and techniques that allow the employment of U.S. national and tactical specific computer network attack mechanisms.”
Full article: Syria Facing U.S. Cyber Attacks in Upcoming Strikes (Washington Free Beacon)