The Pentagon had planned to launch a cyber command that would be responsible for defending its global network of computer systems on October 1, following it by the appointment of its first director.
The date has passed but the plan was delayed because the Congress has still questions about the methods and goals, and is still not satisfied about the lack of definition about what would constitute defense. How will they decide when legitimate defense turns into an act of war? How far should the Pentagon go with defending its networks?
Another thing that is a matter of dispute is the question of how much influence will the NSA have on this command. Some years ago they were involved in wiretapping without a warrant – are they to be trusted again? President Obama appointed Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the director of NSA, as first director of the command, but that nomination must still be confirmed.
The Washington Post reports that the plan – after getting the green light from the Congress – is to consolidate Pentagon’s defensive and offensive units, and start blocking malicious programs from entering the network.
Whether they will do so at the gateways or outside them is another bone of contention, because the outside “belongs” to commercial carriers, and privacy advocates are less then thrilled at the prospect of the government being able to monitor non-government communications.