Young talent that would ordinarily be flocking to Silicon Valley are heading for new an exotic pastures: military companies. The government is pushing hard into the cyberwarfare arena and with the recession hitting tech industries hard, their high paying jobs have dried up.
Almost all of the big military companies, including General Dynamics and Raytheon, have contracts with U.S. military and intelligence agencies to develop weapons that either start or fight back against computer attacks.
In one Raytheon lab, engineers race to create tools meant to secure Pentagon computer networks and attack those of any country that might become hostile. Cash and prizes offer added incentives.
Joel Harding, the director of the Information Operation Institute for the Association of Old Crows, a professional group for contractors and military personnel, estimates that there are now 3,000 to 5,000 information operations specialists in the military and 50,000 to 70,000 soldiers involved in general computer operations. Adding specialists in electronic warfare, deception and other areas could bring the total number of information operations personnel to as many as 88,700, he said.
President Obama’s announcement that he will appoint a Cyber Czar is just the beginning. His administration aims to be the most technologically savvy ever and bring the government’s computer systems and security up to date. A National Cyber Range will also be set up and used to test cyberweapons and security tools.
The 21st century battlefield is the Internet and the soliders that will be on it are hackers and engineers. The enemy is already there, and now the U.S. is racing to fight the battle and win the war.
Read [New York Times]