The Extended Cyber Threat:

A panel convened by AFA’s Eaker Institute Tuesday in Washington talked about Air Force initiatives in the cyberspace domain, but they also described the larger threat—attacks on a nation’s government and commercial electronic enterprises, so many of which are now Internet dependent. “Cyberspace has become a really big deal,” said panel member Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, USAF’s cyberspace lead and 8th Air Force commander, adding, “We do our banking, our commercial activities over the Internet.” The threat was real just this past spring when Estonia, one of the most “Internet-connected” countries in the world, was the subject of a massive Internet attack that paralyzed its financial and government systems for weeks, explained Rebecca Grant, head of IRIS Independent Research and author of the AFA Special Report “Victory in Cyberspace.” She called the event, which Estonian officials have said had Russian state involvement, “Web War I.” The panelists, including retired Gen. John Jumper, former USAF Chief of Staff, that the US does not have an overarching operational concept for cyberwarfare and defense against such attacks is hampered by “policy constraints.”