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Pentagon Plans Nation's Largest Ever Cyber Army

In an effort to beef up the nation's Internet security, the Pentagon is planning to recruit thousands of code crackers, online security professionals and hackers to join America's largest cyber army. 

It will recruit 4,000 troops and civilians in the expansion of the US Defense Department's Cyber Command after threats of cyber espionage have grown. 

"Given the malicious actors that are out there and the development of the technology, in my mind, there's little doubt that some adversary is going to attempt a significant cyber-attack on the United States at some point," William J. Lynn II, former deputy defense secretary, said. 

"The only question is whether we're going to take the necessary steps like this one to deflect the impact of the attack in advance or…read about the steps we should have taken in some post-attack commission report."

The problem is, they are having trouble finding qualified people. 

"The people do not exist at all," Alan Paller, director of the SANS Institute, said. "A program is underway to build a pipeline of the needed people very rapidly."

Pentagon officials have created cyber camps, competitions, scholarships and internships for high school and college students and have also added cyber security training programs for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. 

They will also focus on hiring hackers, especially those who attend global hacker conferences like DefCon. 

These cyber soldiers won't only be focusing on defense, they will also help field commanders through cyber-attacks. Cyber soldiers could attempt to bring down an enemy's technology guiding weapons, munitions and troop movements, for instance. 

"This new class of cyber warrior would be responsible for penetrating the machines behind identified attack sources, installing spyware to monitor connections to those machines, and following the trail back to the desktop of the attacker," Richard Stiennon, author of Surviving Cyberwar, said. 

Though this sounds promising, the program has not been officially approved yet. 

"There is no doubt that we will expand our forces; everyone is on the same page with that," a senior Pentagon official said. "Exactly what the figures are, what they're called, and their precise makeup, that does remain to be seen. So in concept yes, we're expanding it. Has it happened on paper yet? No."


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