Military Review English Edition July-August 2014 - Page 84

The cyberthreat now facing the United States is equally compelling and risks both the effectiveness of U.S. forces on the battlefield and the safety of private and government systems throughout the United States. Recent Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed cyberwarfare exercises like Eligible Receiver and Zenith Star showed how vulnerable command and control networks are to cyberattacks, a prime asymmetric target given the U.S. military’s continued reliance on information technology. Moreover, there are now approximately 30 nations that have developed “aggressive computer-warfare programs.”14 Again, there is a relevant Indian war complement to today’s challenges. Indians of the Southern Plains disrupted American efforts in the West through unconventional means. “The telegraph line, which once had commanded their awe, no longer was mysterious. By 1882, the Apache had learned its function and its method of operation. When they jumped the reservation, they would cut the lines and remove long sections of wire, or they would remove a short piece of wire and replace it with a thin strip of raw hide, so cleverly splicing the two together that the line would appear intact and the location of the break could take days of careful checking to discover.”15 This disruption foreshadows the potentially far greater problems from cyberattacks if we do not design strategy and tactics for dealing with this as part of an asymmetric campaign. as well—Yugoslav partisans fighting the occupying Nazis or Afghans against the Russians and Serbs in the recent NATO operation in Kosovo. Military commanders must study history. Modern, technologically sophisticated warfare—with the asymmetric challenges that accompany it—makes that requirement more true, not less. Our forces must also be adaptive. Just as our adversaries will continuously change tactics and approaches to seek our weaknesses, so must we be able to counter them through continuous adaptation. Preparing for Asymmetric Attacks The first step in preparing to better meet tomorrow’s challenges is to learn from the past. As the examples drawn here indicate, there is a rich history to be tapped in the early American experience. But there are many other examples 82 American Horse (wearing western clothing) and Red Cloud (wearing headdress), shaking hands in front of a tipi about 1891. (Photo by John C.H. Grabill) July-August 2014  MILITARY REVIEW