SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The US military recognizes cyber as a war fighting domain in the same league as ground and air war now, but its unique nature can be a bit hard to comprehend.

Fortunately, Coast Guard Vice Adm. Marshall Lytle gave the perfect analogy that demonstrates how unique, and difficult it can be, for the US military to operate in the cyber realm.

“Cyberwarfare is like a soccer game with all the fans on the field with you and no one is wearing uniforms,” Lytle, who serves as the Chief Information Officer of the Joint Staff, said during a panel discussion on information warfare at the AFCEA West 2017 conference on Wednesday.

Lytle’s remark highlights the “wild west” nature of the cyberwarfare, where the US, Russia, China, and many other non-state actors routinely hack into each others’ networks, steal critical information, and deceive or propagandize for their side.

Cyber soldiers are now an integral part of military strategy, but unlike pilots who can see targets of their bombs and can see their effects, or infantrymen who wear uniforms and fight along much clearer lines, cyber warfare is much messier.



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