A Farewell to Biceps and triceps
By John Carlin
For the people on the ramparts of the planet's sole superpower, the digital winds are blowing a great icy chill through the triumphant glow in the post-Cold Conflict. People in Washington play lots of video games, but none for higher stakes than The Day After. They played a version than it in the absolute depths of the Frosty War, wanting the physical exercise would tremble loose some bright ideas for a US response to elemental attack. They're playing this again today, but the circumstance has changed -- now they're preparing for data war.
The game takes 40 people, in five groups of five. To ensure a good and productive contest, each team features a cross-section of official Buenos aires - CIA spooks, FBI agents, overseas policy professionals, Pentagon boffins, geopoliticos in the National Reliability Council -- not the soldiers against the cops resistant to the spies resistant to the geeks against the wonks.
The Day After starts in a Defense Office briefing space. The groups are offered a series of hypothetical incidents, said to have occurred through the preceding twenty four hours. Georgia's phone system system moved down. The signals upon Amtrak's Ny to Washington line include failed, precipitating a head-on collision. Air traffic control at LOCKER has collapsed. A bomb has cracked at an military services base in Texas. And so on.
The clubs fan out to separate bedrooms with 1 hour to prepare agglomeration papers to get the director. " To never worry -- these are separated incidents, a regrettable set of coincidences" is a single possible bottom line. Another might be " Someone - we're still planning to determine who also - appears to have the ALL OF US under full-scale attack. " Or maybe just " Round up the usual militia suspects. "
The game resumes a couple of days afterwards. Things have become from awful to more serious. The power's down in four northeastern states, Denver's water supply offers dried up, the ambassador to Ethiopia has become kidnapped, and terrorists include hijacked a north american Airlines 747 en route by Rome. In the meantime, in Tehran, the mullahs are upgrading their rhetoric against the " Great Satan": Iranian containers are on the move toward Saudi Arabia. CNN's Christiane Amanpour, in a flak jacket, is reporting live outside the US embassy in Addis Ababa. ABC's Philip Jennings can be quizzing George Stephanopoulos for the president's state of mind.
When instantly, the geostationary satellites over North America all get blind... Goodness, Voltaire explained, is on the side of the big battalions. No more, This individual ain't. Nor on the side of the richest and even - and this may amaze you - the most extravagantly well born. Information technology is usually famously a great equalizer, a fresh hand that could tip the scales of power. As well as for those on the ramparts from the world's single superpower, the digital gusts of wind are forced an frozen chill through the post- Cold War's triumphant glow.
Consider this litany. From former National Security Firm director Ruben McConnell: " We're more vulnerable than any other nation in the world. " Or former CIA deputy overseer William Studeman: " Large networking the actual US the world's the majority of vulnerable target" (" plus the most appealing, " he may have added). Or former US Mouthpiece Attorney Standard Jaime Gorelick: " We will have a cyber comparative of Pearl Harbor at some point, and do not desire to wait for that wake-up call up. " As well as the Pentagon brass? They entrusted their outdated RAND think-tank friends, who have combed through the Day Following results and concluded, " The more time a single spent on this kind of subject, the greater one found tough concerns lacking concrete floor solutions and, in some cases, lacking even good ideas about how to start. " Not that absolutely nothing is being done. On the other hand, there's been a frenzy of activity, almost all of it little noticed simply by Washington at large. A usa president commission has become established; the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA have formulated their own professional I-war clubs; interagency physiques, complete with newly minted shortened forms like IPTF (Infrastructure Safety Task Force) and CIWG (Critical Facilities Working...