National Security

Trump Plans To Go On The Offensive With Cyber Weapons

REUTERS/Rick Wilking

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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President Donald Trump plans to develop offensive cyber capabilities as part of his plan to strengthen the U.S. military, according to the White House.

The newly updated White House website reveals plans to prioritize both offensive and defensive cyber capabilities by the new administration. Openly indicating potential willingness to utilize offensive cyber weapons is a relatively new change in U.S. policy, as such matters have historically been kept top secret.

“Cyberwarfare is an emerging battlefield, and we must take every measure to safeguard our national security secrets and systems,” stated the White House website Friday. “We will make it a priority to develop defensive and offensive cyber capabilities at our U.S. Cyber Command, and recruit the best and brightest Americans to serve in this crucial area.”

Trump promised to increase U.S. cyber capabilities throughout his campaign, repeatedly noting that countries like Russia, North Korea and China are hacking important U.S. military and civilian infrastructure. After winning the election, he named former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to act as his cybersecurity adviser. A prosecutor by trade, Giuliani currently heads up the Giuliani Partners cybersecurity consulting firm.

“This is a rapidly evolving field both as to intrusions and solutions and it is critically important to get timely information from all sources,” the Trump transition team said in a statement. “Mr. Giuliani was asked to initiate this process because of his long and very successful government career in law enforcement and his now sixteen years of work providing security solutions in the private sector.”

Cyber weapons are one of the country’s most closely guarded secrets, but the computer worm known as Stuxnet brought the issue in the spotlight after it destroyed Iranian nuclear centrifuges in 2010. While the origin of the worm is unknown, cybersecurity experts believe it was a joint Israel-U.S. project. At the time, it was considered one of the most elaborate computer worms in existence.

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