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Militaries know cyberwarfare is important, unsure how to use it

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Militaries are increasing their cyberwarfare capabilities with new recruitment and training exercises, but many are still figuring out how to find computer talent and integrate cyberwarfare into traditional military exercises.

DoD: cyber attacks may provoke military response
DoD: cyber attacks may provoke military response

Military budgets for cyberwarfare are increasing, but according to a Reuters report, many groups seem unsure of how to prepare or deploy it. As initial task forces are being built, questions have emerged about which agencies should handle cyberwarfare, and how they should recruit. One strategy is creating large bases to train personnel, something that security expert Ralph Langner worries may be an attempt to prove dominance by "sheer numbers" instead of focusing on overall capability. Agencies that rely on recruiting a few skilled hackers, however, face challenges attracting these experts, who often have little incentive to trade highly-paid jobs with major companies for the discipline of a defense agency. Some military branches, like the US Navy and Air Force, have tried to remove these barriers by creating an easier version of basic training, or by letting recruits keep longer hair. But even agencies that make a point of welcoming "eccentric expertise" still lose talent to Microsoft and Google.

Perhaps the largest problem in coming years, however, will be deciding how countries should integrate cyberwarfare into standard military practice. Israel, for example, allegedly hacked and disabled Syria's air defense radar in a 2007 raid, a move that is now being used as a template for future operations. US academies like the Naval War College in Rhode Island are also including cyber attacks as part of standard exercises. As Professor Dick Crowell told Reuters, "It's a new form of warfare and it has to be appreciated, just as in the past you had new developments siege warfare, trench warfare and air warfare."