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War in the Fifth Domain


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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO's) Estonia-based "center of excellence" for cyberdefense is the hub of brainstorming efforts covering the tactical and legal concepts of cyberwarfare. The center was established as a response to a coordinated denial-of-service assault on Estonia, while in May a panel of experts led by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright warned that cyberattacks are among the three most likely threats to NATO.

During the confirmation hearing of U.S. Gen. Keith Alexander as director of the Pentagon's new Cyber Command, he was asked questions such as whether he would have "significant" cyberweapons under his authority, and how sure he would need to be about the identity of a cyberattacker to launch a counteroffensive. Alexander said the president would be the ultimate arbiter of what constituted cyberwarfare, and that if the United States responded with force in cyberspace it would be in keeping with the rules of war and the "principles of military necessity, discrimination, and proportionality."

From The Economist
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