Lawfulness of Attacking Computer Networks in Armed Conflict and in Self-Defense in Periods Short of Armed Conflict: What are the Targeting Constraints?   [open pdf - 137KB]

The UCP (Unified Command Plan) provides planning guidance and requirements for the operational commands within the Department of Defense (DOD). In the latest version, responsibility for maintaining and managing the Joint Information Operations Center (JIOC), located in San Antonio, Texas, was transferred to the U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) at Petersen Air Force Base, Colorado. The JIOC, formerly known as the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center, provides "full-spectrum" information warfare (IW) and information operations (IO) support to U.S. operational commanders worldwide. That is, the JIOC provides support in planning, coordination, and execution of all DOD IW and IO missions, as well as assistance in the development of IO doctrine, tactics and procedures. What makes the transfer of the JIOC significant is the recent enhancement of its missions. In August 1999, the mission of the JIOC was broadened from command and control to include operations support. The enhanced operations support now required includes psychological operations, security, electronic warfare, targeting of command and control facilities, military deception, computer network defense, civil and public affairs, and, significantly, computer network attack. For the first time in the UCP, computer network attack was specifically identified in the planning requirements for unified commanders. This is significant because, by implication, the planning requirements now recognize the legality of targeting critical foreign computer infrastructure when vital U.S. or allied national interests are threatened. This paper continues the discussion of the renewed emphasis on considering computer infrastructure as a legitimate target for attack.

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Military Law Review, v.169, September 2001, p. 70-91
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