The U.S. Department of Defense is rapidly ramping up its cyber efforts to combat the operations of terrorist organization ISIL, or ISIS.
Speaking at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter yesterday described the importance of disrupting ISIL’s communications networks and their use of the Internet for propaganda and recruitment. “It’s the kind of thing we’ve done in electronic warfare over the radio spectrum for decades and decades,” Secretary Carter said.
Cyber warfare, according to Secretary Carter, is designed to interrupt ISIL’s ability to exercise command and control over its fighters, undermine their trust in the integrity of their communications, and prevent their ability to coordinate resupply efforts. Carter admitted that ISIL has “the ability to be agile [and move from website to website], but we’re going to be more agile.”
Secretary Carter’s remarks follow recent counterterrorism developments by the Pentagon. On Monday, Ars Technica reported that the U.S. military disclosed it was conducting cyber warfare to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces retake Mosul from ISIL. According to the news report, Secretary Carter declined to give details of the attack, wanting to retain the element of surprise.
And earlier today, at the RSA Security Conference, Secretary Carter announced that Eric Schmidt, chairman of Alphabet (the parent company of Google), will head a newly created Pentagon Advisory Board. The advisory board will help bring Silicon Valley-style innovation to the Department of Defense. Later today, Secretary Carter will speak with Ted Schlein, general partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, in a session titled “A Conversation on Collaboration Between Silicon Valley and the Department of Defense.”