US Cyber commander Gen. Keith B. Alexander has warned that America faces a "real and continuing" threat on the digital battlefield.
Although Alexander confirmed the DoD's Cybercom "stood ready" to defend military networks, he emphasized that civilian laws and policies were in desperate need of an overhaul to ensure the protection of the nation's critical infrastructure.
"The more you learn, the more you say we have to come together to protect this," the general said during a roundtable session with reporters cited by the DOD’s official press service.
"Our intellectual property here is about $5 trillion...[And] of that, approximately $300 billion is stolen over the networks per year...We have to do a better job defending [our digital assets]."
As such, Alexander recommended that the political echelon reassess hopelessly antiquated laws enacted over 35 years ago when the US relied on rotary phones.
"We have to update the [old] laws. [Yes], we can protect civil liberties and privacy and still do our mission. [Sure], there can be mistakes, but we can [and will] protect the First Amendment.
"[So], from my perspective, I would like to war-game it and hypothesize what could happen and ensure the policies, laws and authorities allow us to do what people expect us to do.
"I [simply] don't want to fail in meeting the expectations of the American people, the White House and Congress."