UIC John Marshall Journal of Information Technology & Privacy Law


Cyberwarfare is a very real threat to the security of the nation. Yet there is confusion and disagreement as to which government body is most appropriate to assume the cyberwar mission. The Strategy to Secure Cyberspace treats the threat primarily as a criminal issue, and assigns responsibility to the Department of Homeland Security. The National Defense Strategy implies that cyberwarfare is a military issue. Both documents may be correct, depending on the case. The cyberspace terrain transcends boundaries, quickly blurring the line between civil or criminal action and an act of war, leaving the government with the issue of assigning an agency to deal with the threat. This paper will look at the various organizations within the federal government that have some cyber-component, and compare their abilities with applicable law to determine which agency or agencies have the ability to legally engage in cyberwarfare. This paper will also examine whether current methods for determining the rules of engagement for conflicts is relevant or if new procedures need to be drafted.