U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter confirmed this week that the U.S. has begun waging cyberwarfare against the tech-savvy Islamic State terrorist group.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr. Carter said the U.S. Cyber Command team will start launching online attacks against the terrorist group.
“I have give Cyber Command really its first wartime assignment, and we’re seeing how that works out,” Mr. Carter said.
The Cyber Command team was created in 2009 in an effort to accelerate digital warfare, but the government has rarely elaborated on its projects.
“Even a few years ago, it would not have occurred to a ecretary of Defense to say, ‘Let’s get cyber in the game,’ but here we have real opportunities,” Mr. Carter told the Financial Times.
In February, Mr. Carter told reporters that Cyber Command was “looking to accelerate” its digital attack against the Islamic State in an effort to disrupt their communications systems, data security and financial structures.
Cyber Command, with headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland, has been shrouded in secrecy, but Mr. Carter’s latest comments are now seen as an attempt by the Defense Department to deter countries from launching cyberattacks against the U.S.
The Islamic State is well known to use the Internet and social media to recruit and spread propaganda. An increased effort to target the terrorists online is seen as a necessary element of a wider military campaign against the group.
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