West Point students, from left, Lieut. Colonel Robert Fanelli and cadets Nathan Larsen, Mark Evinger (seated) and Marc Abbott participate in National Security Agency cyberwar games. Michael Falco / The New York Times / Redux
U.S. News and World Report: Cyber Wars
The military is experimenting with drones, censors and new tactics designed to defeat digital enemies on tomorrow's battlefields.
FORT IRWIN, Calif. – One of the three reconnaissance soldiers peers over a ridgeline at the target compound his small patrol is surveilling. Another adds a piece of foliage to an antennae to mask its outline and the third tugs camouflage netting over himself as he silently taps away on a laptop computer.
Their objective is to identify the location of three “known insurgents,” code named “Jets,” “Eagles” and “Steelers” after their unit’s favorite NFL teams, and report back to their commander on what kind of hardware the enemy might have. The question is who, and what, is inside this rudimentary cluster of buildings.
The gritty sand beneath their feet, strewn with the metallic litter of war zones is reminiscent of combat tours in Iraq, as are the 110 degree temperatures, while the soaring craggy peaks that encircle their location could have been taken right out of the mountainous regions of Afghanistan.
For these soldiers, however, the real battlefield is invisible.
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WNU Editor: Welcome to the new frontier.