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NSA head says 13 'offensive teams' being trained for cyberwarfare

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As Director of National Intelligence James Clapper discussed the "remote" threat of a major cyberattack within the next two years, NSA and US Cyber Command director Gen. Keith Alexander told Congress that the US was training its own cyberwarriors as well. In yesterday's hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, Alexander emphasized that "this team, this defend-the-nation team, is not a defensive team... This is an offensive team that the Defense Department would use to defend the nation if it were attacked in cyberspace. 13 of the teams that we’re creating are for that mission alone."

As The New York Times reports, Alexander says 27 additional teams are dedicated to training and surveillance, and more will be able to "defend our networks in cyberspace." He did not go into detail about the projects, but he said that training was the most important task at hand, and that defense was best served by monitoring incoming traffic to the US with systems that could check for attacks. Current fears about cyberwarfare have focused on China, which is considered responsible for recent attacks on The New York Times and other papers, but Clapper has said that "isolated state or nonstate actors" are more likely to launch high-stakes campaigns that could take out critical infrastructure.