U.S. Debated Cyberwarfare in Attack Plan on Libya

Just before the American-led strikes against Libya in March, the Obama administration intensely debated whether to open the mission with a new kind of warfare: a cyberoffensive to disrupt and even disable the Qaddafi government’s air-defense system, which threatened allied warplanes.

While the exact techniques under consideration remain classified, the goal would have been to break through the firewalls of the Libyan government’s computer networks to sever military communications links and prevent the early-warning radars from gathering information and relaying it to missile batteries aiming at NATO warplanes.

But administration officials and even some military officers balked, fearing that it might set a precedent for other nations, in particular Russia or China, to carry out such offensives of their own, and questioning whether the attack could be mounted on such short notice.

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One comment on “U.S. Debated Cyberwarfare in Attack Plan on Libya

  1. BlueOntario says:

    While I understand the article is advertising the US’s military capability (probably rattling a sabre at Iran and warning some other nations mentioned in the article that we know what they are up to), the article makes it sound like cyberwarfare was ruled out against Libya at the last minute. What the decision is more akin to is the consideration before one takes a walk of whether to wear a heavy or a light coat. The planning probably also had to rule in or out the tactic of Iraq-type “shock and awe” against government targets, and even “boots on the ground.” It’s not a bad thing to review your arsenal before going to war and to decide what level of force is appropriate to the mission.