nettimes roving reporter on Sun, 10 Oct 1999 21:25:30 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Military chief says US made computer attacks on Yugoslavia

Military chief says US made computer attacks on Yugoslavia

>From AP

The United States military acknowledged for the first time today that it
used a form of computer warfare against Yugoslavia as part of NATO's air
war last spring. 

Army General Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made
the remark during an interview in which he discussed the Pentagon's
decision to assign US Space Command the responsibility for coordinating
both the defence of military computer networks and attacks on enemy

Asked broadly if US information "weapons" were used against Yugoslavia
during the Kosovo campaign, Shelton replied, "You can assume that we in
fact employed some of our systems, yes." 

He said the "systems" were offensive in nature, but he would not be more
specific about how they were used. 

A defence official said later that Shelton was referring to a broad range
of "information operations" involving computers that might have included
cyber-attacks on Yugoslavia's air defence network. 

Shelton would not specify the target of the US computer attacks and did
not discuss the results. 

"I would rather not be specific about how we used it, to be frank," he
said. "I don't want to divulge too much." 

Shelton spoke to reporters travelling with him and Defence Secretary
William Cohen aboard an Air Force jet from Norfolk, where they had
attended a ceremony to mark the renaming of US Atlantic Command as US
Joint Forces Command. The change is part of a broader revision of the
Unified Command Plan that includes assigning computer network defensive
and attack responsibilities to Space Command. 

At a news conference after the ceremony, Shelton said the Pentagon was
concerned about the vulnerability of military computers to intrusions not
only by private hackers but also by enemies in times of war. 

"I don't think there's any question, as we look to the future, that our
information systems throughout America and specifically within the Defence
Department will be more and more subject to attack," he said. 

Space Command, headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado
Springs, Colorado, was given responsibility for developing defences
against attacks on military computer networks as of October 1. In a year's
time it would take on the added task of coordinating the development of
offensive "weapons" for cyber-warfare, defence officials said. At present,
the individual services do that work. 

Space Command's main mission is to provide missile-warning and space
surveillance as part of the air and space defence of the United States and
Canada. It also plans for strategic ballistic missile defence. 

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