The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Cyber Warfare and Counterspace: Growing National Threats Against the United States

Cyber Security will be a growing need for the USOn January 29, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held an open hearing on Current and Projected National Security threats against the United States. These open hearings occur yearly, and quite a few areas of threat are on the rise, including cyber, counterintelligence, counterspace, and Transnational Organized Crime.

They concluded that global threats in the cyber realm are a growing trend, and our increased reliance on cyberspace and digital networks as a nation will create growing risks to our use of digital infrastructure. Exploiting and disrupting our online activities will likely increase, the Select Committee concluded; biggest threats will come from Russia and China. Also mentioned in a statement by James R. Clapper is the growing use of networked heath care services and 3D printing, which could have "uncertain economic and social impacts… Similarly, they might also revolutionize aspects of underground criminal activity."

Perhaps due to the Snowden and Manning leaks, the Select Committee sees insider threats in counterintelligence to be of significant importance. Unauthorized disclosure of sensitive materials has become an increasingly common issue. Meanwhile, foreign intelligence threats mainly come from Russia and China, who seek data on weapons systems and information on energy, finance, media, and tech companies.

Homegrown extremists pose a growing threat for violent terror activities in the United States as indicated by the Boston Bombing of April 2013. Terrorist activities overseas are also of great importance, as terror activities spill over from one country into another.

Counterspace threats come in the form of interfering with reconnaissance, navigation, and communication satellites. Jamming capabilities of Chinese satellites pose a risk for US satellite systems.

To read more about these and other threats to National Security, visit the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's home page.