A U.S. Cyber Warfare Command: Better Late Than Never
Ira Winkler writes on ComputerWorld:
In a class at the National Security Agency, I learned that prior to one World War II battle in the Pacific, key U.S. commanders knew an attack was coming but didn't warn anyone. The result was a major loss of life and equipment. But the decision not to warn anyone was a strategic consideration. Preparing people for an imminent attack would have given the Japanese an indication that their command communications had been compromised and that U.S. commanders were aware of all Japanese troop movements throughout the Pacific. Strategically, this single loss was preferable to losing the war.More here.
This type of quandary becomes extremely more problematic when we are talking about cyberwarfare, where multiple units are doing the same type of work. For example, the Air Force Information Warfare Command (AFIWC) might want to break into foreign air defense facilities and blind them immediately before an air attack. That would provide a tactical advantage, at the price of showing that the AFIWC had compromised the facility. That much is comparable to the World War II scenario. But then add in the fact that the NSA might have separately compromised the same air defense facility and was using it to monitor deployments or to dig into the adversary's entire military network.
In a different scenario, the NSA could be working on a long-term project to enter false information into an adversary's database, unaware that the Army had hacked into the same database to try to track military movements. In that case, the Army intelligence efforts would be misled by the NSA's independent efforts to confound the adversary.