How to Lose a Cyber War
John Arquilla writes on Foreign Policy:
The five young men detained in Pakistan this week -- like a whole new generation of jihadis -- appear to have made considerable use of the Internet in their alleged approach to al Qaeda. Their story points out that, nine years after 9/11, terrorist networks are still not only able to stay in touch via cyberspace, but that they are even extending their reach thanks to our giving them a free ride in the virtual domain.More here.
U.S. President Barack Obama often speaks about his central strategic objective of denying al Qaeda its haven in Waziristan, but he says nary a word about taking away its "virtual haven" in cyberspace. This omission is more than his alone, as none of the key military, intelligence, and law-enforcement arms of the U.S. government have done much to curtail terrorist use of the Net.
Those who do try to keep an eye on terrorism in cyberspace often argue that they learn a lot about enemy networks by monitoring their narratives on jihadi websites. But if this made a real difference, we would have already won the war on terror.
Instead of thinking of cyberspace principally as a place to gather intelligence, we need to elevate it to the status of "battlespace." This means that we either want to exploit terrorists' use of the Web and Net unbeknownst to them, or we want to drive them from it.