Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III believes the U.S. is facing a new generation of "disruptive" cyber attacks.
"The cyber threat is moving up the ladder from exploitation to disruption," Lynnn explained in comments quoted by the DoD's official website.
"[True], we have not seen much destruction in terms of cyber threats, but we will."
According to Lynn, cyber warfare capabilities are currently in the hands hands of "sophisticated" countries, but could shift to rogue states and terrorist organizations in the future.
"We have a window at this point where the most malicious threats haven't been joined with the most malicious actors, but that will happen.
"[So we need to establish defenses that will] prevent [such a] union from having an effect on the security and the economy of this country."
The deputy defense secretary also emphasized that protecting military and commercial networks would require the high-levels of cooperation amongst government agencies and the private sector.
"That cross-fertilization is critical. We are not going to solve this problem as a government-only problem, [and] private industry is not going to be able to solve it alone," he added.