Cyberwarfare Seen as Greatest Threat by National Security Leaders

Monday, 06 Jan 2014 01:45 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Cyberwarfare is considered the greatest national security threat to the United States by leaders in the U.S. intelligence and national security arenas, a recent poll conducted for DenfenseNews finds.

According to the first Defense News Leadership Poll of 352 senior defense leaders conducted via the Internet, 45 percent said that cyberwarfare is the greatest threat to the United States, 26 percent said the greatest threat is terrorism, and 14 percent said China.

Almost 8 percent identified Iran as the greatest national security threat in the poll taken last November and almost 6 percent ranked climate change as the greater threat.

The percentage of those who see cyberwarfare as the greatest threat reflects the warnings that came from former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in October 2012.

"The collective result of these kinds of attacks could be a cyber Pearl Harbor, an attack that would cause physical destruction and the loss of life," Panetta said. "In fact, it would paralyze and shock the nation and create a new, profound sense of vulnerability."

The poll, underwritten by United Technologies, included civilians, military, intelligence, and congressional staffers and workers among its respondents, as well as some lawmakers.

Among those who identified themselves as Republicans, terrorism is seen as the greatest threat to the United States, followed by cyberwarfare. Democrats, however, listed cyberwarfare at the primary threat, followed by climate change.

Defense News noted that 38.5 percent of those who responded to the poll were Republicans and only 13.5 percent were Democrats.

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