Cyberattacks should require Presidential authorization, official says

Cyberattacks on enemy computer systems should require presidential authority — and not be launched at the discretion of individual military commanders — the nation’s top cyberwarrior told Congress.

The comment by Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of U.S. Cyber Command, offered a rare glimpse into a largely classified debate over standing rules of engagement for the military in cyberspace. Those rules govern what commanders can and cannot do on their own authority outside war zones. “It really comes down to, so what are those reactions that make sense that we can do defensively, analogous to the missile shoot-down?” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “But if you are to go after a computer in foreign space or some other thing, that might be a response option that would now take, I think, the president and the [defense] secretary to step in and start making decisions, versus us taking that on,” Alexander said. “And I think that’s probably where we’ll end up, and that makes a lot of sense from my perspective.”


Cyberattacks should require Presidential authorization, official says