US to Offer Cyber Warfare Secrets to NATO Allies
(Source: British Forces News; issued Oct 03, 2018)
The US is expected to announce that it will offer its cyber warfare capabilities on NATO's behalf as it acts to counter Russian aggression.

The announcement is expected in the coming days as US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis attends a meeting with NATO counterparts on Wednesday and Thursday.

Senior Pentagon official Katie Wheelbarger said the US is committing to use offensive and defensive cyber operations for NATO allies, but America will maintain control over its own personnel and capabilities.

The decision comes on the heels of the NATO summit in July, when members agreed to allow the alliance to use cyber capabilities that are provided voluntarily by allies to protect networks and respond to cyber attacks.

It reflects growing concerns by the US and its allies over Moscow's use of cyberoperations to influence elections in America and elsewhere.

"Russia is constantly pushing its cyber and information operations," said Ms Wheelbarger, adding that this is a way for the US to show its continued commitment to NATO.

She told reporters travelling to NATO with Mr Mattis that the move is a signal to other nations that the alliance is prepared to counter cyber attacks waged against the alliance or its members.

Much like America's nuclear capabilities, the formal declaration of cyber support can help serve as a military deterrent to other nations and adversaries.

In recent weeks the Pentagon released a new cyber security strategy that maps out a more aggressive use of military cyber capabilities.

And it specifically calls out Russia and China for their use of cyber attacks.

China, it said, has been "persistently" stealing data from the public and private sector to gain an economic advantage.

And it said Russia has used cyber information operations to "influence our population and challenge our diplomatic processes".

US officials have repeatedly accused Moscow of interfering in the 2016 elections, including through online social media.

"We will conduct cyberspace operations to collect intelligence and prepare military cyber capabilities to be used in the event of a crisis or conflict," the new strategy states.

The US is said to be prepared to use cyber warfare along with other military weapons against its enemies when needed, including to counter malicious cyber activities targeting the country.

The document adds that the Pentagon will "work to strengthen the capacity" of allies and partners.

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