Not much talk of the ‘greatest national security threat’ during Hagel’s hearing

So President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Defense Department, former Nebraska Sen.  Chuck Hagel,  called cyber attacks against critical infrastructure or government networks as "insidious a threat as any other" that can instantly "paralyze" a country during his ongoing confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.  He used language that was just a ...

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

So President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the Defense Department, former Nebraska Sen.  Chuck Hagel,  called cyber attacks against critical infrastructure or government networks as "insidious a threat as any other" that can instantly "paralyze" a country during his ongoing confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

He used language that was just a little toned down from Secretary of State nominee John Kerry's acknowledgement last week that cyber is the world's "greatest threat."

As expected, Hagel went on to say that cyber will be a priority for him is he becomes the next defense secretary.

So President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Defense Department, former Nebraska Sen.  Chuck Hagel,  called cyber attacks against critical infrastructure or government networks as "insidious a threat as any other" that can instantly "paralyze" a country during his ongoing confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

He used language that was just a little toned down from Secretary of State nominee John Kerry’s acknowledgement last week that cyber is the world’s "greatest threat."

As expected, Hagel went on to say that cyber will be a priority for him is he becomes the next defense secretary.

Also as expected, Hagel implied that Congress needs to pass cyber security legislation to deal with "lots of complications" introduced by the all encompassing nature of cyber that the nation has never had to face before when making national security choices. 
What kinds of complications? He was referring to the questions out there about how much cash the Pentagon should devote to cyber war, what constitutes an act of cyber war versus cyber espionage or crime who is responsible for defending critical infrastructure providers such as banks, communications firms, tranportation companies and energy firms from a cyber attack that could harm millions of people; DoD, DHS or the private companies themselves? 

Other than these short comments, as of 2:30 this afternoon, there hasn’t been much talk of ‘one of the greatest national security threats’ facing the U.S. between during a hearing that’s all about national security. 

John Reed is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy. He comes to FP after editing Military.com’s publication Defense Tech and working as the associate editor of DoDBuzz. Between 2007 and 2010, he covered major trends in military aviation and the defense industry around the world for Defense News and Inside the Air Force. Before moving to Washington in August 2007, Reed worked in corporate sales and business development for a Swedish IT firm, The Meltwater Group in Mountain View CA, and Philadelphia, PA. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter at the Tracy Press and the Scotts Valley Press-Banner newspapers in California. His first story as a professional reporter involved chasing escaped emus around California’s central valley with Mexican cowboys armed with lassos and local police armed with shotguns. Luckily for the giant birds, the cowboys caught them first and the emus were ok. A New England native, Reed graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a dual degree in international affairs and history.

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