Cyber-warfare holds potential for humanity

As computer technology increases, people are finding many different ways to use the Internet. Governments, terrorists and extremists are using the Internet for combat. This form of warfare is effective in areas where other forms are useless. Conversely, this also means other countries and extremists in the United States have easy access to this information. The U.S. government should realize this and allocate the necessary resources to cement the United States’ ability to use cyber-warfare. Simultaneously, the United States should work to improve its ability to protect itself from others using this strategy.
There are many different advantages to using cyber-warfare. “(Cyber-warfare) is cheaper and easier than building a nuclear weapon. It takes few people and far less money,” said Richard Clark, President Clinton’s national coordinator for security, infrastructure protection and counterterrorism.
Cyber-warfare can do a substantial amount of damage without actually taking the lives of millions. An enemy could upset banking, transportation, utilities, finance, government functions and defense simultaneously. This could force a country to stop functioning for a period of time, leaving it without its defenses and unable to attack.
Cyber-warfare can be more easily controlled than other forms of warfare, such as nuclear warfare. The enemy could take out all government functions or just transportation in one major city without the guarantee of mutual destruction as in a traditional or nuclear war.
The United States currently leads the world in cyber-warfare technology, but there are other countries such as Russia and Israel working on cyber-weapons. “We know other countries that are developing information technology and are doing reconnaissance of our computer networks,” said Clark.
The Internet is an effective tool for various groups to spread their ideas throughout the world. An Israel Defense Force radio broadcast said Hamas activists in the United States had been using Internet chat rooms to plan operations and activities in October, 1996. The group was also using e-mail to coordinate activities across Gaza, Lebanon and Israel’s West Bank. The United States should monitor the Internet to get early warnings of anti-American groups.
However, the U.S. government can also use the Internet to counter anti-American propaganda and provide countries that lack a free press with information that is less colored by governmental interference.
The United States needs to realize the importance of cyber-warfare for the future. Money should be spent on enhancing these programs and monitoring the work of other countries in this area of combat. Cyber-warfare has the chance to be the most humane type of warfare possible. As a country that attempts to be the global human rights leader, the United States should study this type of warfare that would disable other computers rather than taking human lives.