12 May 2014

Ministry of Defence reveals how future wars will be fought entirely in cyberspace

'Call of Duty' will become REAL: 
Philip Hammond says internet warfare is next military 'frontier' 
Says there will 'never again be a conflict in which cyber does not play a role' 
Public no longer prepared to tolerate soldiers being killed in foreign wars 

8 May 2014 

Future wars could be fought entirely on the internet, the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond claimed today.

The Cabinet Minister said military technology was changing rapidly with 'cyber' warfare the battleground of the future.

He told a Westminster gathering that internet-based attacks could replace boots on the ground - in the same way tanks replaced horses in the 20th Century.

The Call of Duty video game is hugely popular - but could become a reality in the future. While cyber warfare will have nothing to do with video shoot 'em ups, malicious computer viruses are likely to be the new weapon of choice for Western countries that are unwilling to risk their soldiers lives on a real battlefield

Mr Hammond said the internet was the 'new frontier' for the military because the public was no longer prepared to accept British soldiers being killed on the front line.

He said: ‘I can tell you with some degree of confidence that there will never again be a conflict in which cyber does not play a major role.'

Mr Hammond said this would either be in the form of background support for the 'conventional application of force'. 

But it was 'possible to envisage entire conflicts being fought in cyberspace', Mr Hammond said.

‘The vulnerability that modern societies, modern militaries have to networked IT systems makes this inevitable and makes our exposure all the more significant,' he said.

The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said all conflicts in the future would have an element of cyber warfare

‘There is a remarkable alignment amongst military chiefs about where we need to invest. 

'We need to invest in cyber; we need to invest in intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance.

‘In modern warfare, we need to know where our targets are – our public does not tolerate collateral damage or, allow me another piece of jargon, “civ caz” any longer.’

Mr Hammond said 'military capability' could only be measured against other countries' armies. He said: 'We can’t stand still because our enemies don’t stand still. We have to evolve, we have to change how we deliver military effect all the time.

‘So while looking back to our proud military traditions, we always have to be prepared to embrace the future.

‘At the time of the First World War it was moving from horses to tanks; in the late 19th Century it was the debate about whether the machine gun would ever catch on.

‘The frontier now is around cyber; the investment that we are making in cyber.’

Cyber warfare's potential was exposed in the suspected Israel assault on Iran's nuclear weapons programme in 2010.

A computer virus called Stuxnet - allegedly designed by Israel in collaboration with the US - infected Iran's top-security Natanz uranium enrichment site. 

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admitted the virus had set back his country's nuclear ambitions.

The Stuxnet virus worked by increasing the speed of uranium centrifuges to breaking point. At the same time it shut off safety monitoring systems, hoodwinking operators that all was normal.

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