Last year, the U.S. Department of Defense issued a cyberspace strategy emphasizing the concept of defense forward. This is interpreted by the outside world as the U.S. military will carry out cyber offensive and defensive operations in other countries rather than in the United States. Previously, the U.S. President also gave the military the freedom to deploy advanced cyber weapons without hindrance. As the initiator of cyber warfare, the United States is actively preparing for cyber warfare by accelerating the global drag into a cyber war without winners.
Over the years, American politicians have advocated the risk of cyber Pearl Harbor attacks, but the worlds first cyber-weapons attack on facilities in other countries was initiated by the United States. As the initiator of cyber warfare, the United States is not only the strongest country in cyber warfare, but also the largest country in launching cyber warfare.
In 2004, the United States launched a cyber attack that paralysed Libyas top-level domain names. In 2010, a seismic network virus manufactured jointly by the United States and Israel attacked Irans nuclear facilities, resulting in the scrapping of 1,000 centrifuges in Iran, resulting in a near standstill of Irans nuclear program. In 2016, former U.S. Defense Secretary Jimmy Carter admitted for the first time that the United States attacked Syrias ISIS organization by cyber means, which was the first time that the United States publicly used cyber attacks as a means of warfare. In early March 2019, Venezuela suffered a massive blackout across the country, affecting 18 out of 23 states, directly paralysing transportation, health care, communications and infrastructure. Venezuelan President Maduro accused the United States of orchestrating a cyber attack on the countrys power system to create chaos and force the government to step down through a nationwide blackout. Some analysts believe that in the absence of direct and indirect military intervention, launching cyber attacks on Venezuela may be the best option for the United States.
Americas cyberspace preparedness plan never stops. At the end of 2016, the United States further enhanced the strategic position and operational value of cyberwarfare, upgraded the former subordinate cyberwarfare command to an independent first-level command, which constituted the three-level cyberwarfare command mechanism of President-Secretary of Defense-Commander of Combat Command. Currently, the U.S. Army has 133 cyber warfare units. From 2006 to 2016, the U.S. military held seven large-scale cyberstorm exercises or cyberspace warfare exercises, three of which were specifically aimed at China. In August 2018, U.S. President Trump signed an order to overturn the Presidential Policy Directive No. 20 (PPD-20) signed by former President Barack Obama in 2012, allowing the military to deploy advanced cyber weapons more freely without being blocked by the State Department and the intelligence community.
Jason Healey, a research scholar and cyber security expert at Columbia University, is worried that the United States has slipped into a permanent cyber war, in which there will be no real winner.
Such worries are not unreasonable. The United States has continuously strengthened its cyberwarfare capabilities and set a bad example to the whole world. If other countries or rival organizations of the United States follow the example of the United States in strengthening cyberwarfare capacity-building and means of use, the United States will never be able to stand alone, but may be the first target. It is impossible to achieve network security by attacking each other. It will only lead cyberspace to a path of no return against upgrading.