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Air Force reclassification of cyber tools as weapons sparks speculation

John P. Mello | April 15, 2013
One expert suggests the move is designed to deter nations from launching cyberattacks. Another: To drum up funding support from Congress

It also makes sense to publicize a cause when you want to bump up funding for it. Hyten told attendees of the Colorado forum that the Air Force wants to add 1,200 more people to its current cyber workforce, now at about 6,000.

"As with anything else with the military, you've got to scream and fight for the resources you need to invest in these things," said Richard Stiennon, chief research analyst with IT-Harvest.

The military may also be preparing budget watchdogs for a need to modify contract procedures so the right private sector talent can be acquired to work on its cyber projects. "If you read between the lines, you can see they want to spend money with IT security vendors, and they've got to be able to grease the skids to do that," Stiennon said.

Most vendors on the cutting edge of cyber capabilities are small and don't have relationships with the federal government, he explained. For those firms, it isn't worth their time jumping through hoops for a government contract. "Complying with government certification programs can cost more than the revenues of most of these startup companies," Stiennon said.


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