General Mark Welsh, the Air Force’s new chief of staff, on Tuesday told reporters that he planned to take a hard look at funding for cyber operations until the Pentagon more clearly spelled out its requirements for new “cyber warriors.”
“Until we’re all on board and under the same direction, I’m a little hesitant to commit wholeheartedly a major resource expenditure in an area that I don’t completely understand,” he said.
Debora Plunkett, of the secretive National Security Agency, whose responsibilities include protecting U.S. government computer networks, predicted earlier this month that Congress would pass long-stalled cybersecurity legislation within the next year.
She said other nations were increasingly employing cyber attacks without “any sense of restraint,” citing “reckless” behaviors that neither the United States nor the Soviet Union would have dared at the height of Cold War tensions.
In July, NSA Director General Keith Alexander said the number of computer attacks from hackers, criminal gangs and foreign nations on American infrastructure had increased 17-fold from 2009 to 2011.