London: US President Barack Obama has ordered his top intelligence and national security officials to generate a list of potential overseas targets for cyber attacks which could offer US capabilities to advance its objectives around the world.
The Presidential Policy Directive states that the government will identify potential targets of national importance where Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO) can offer favourable balance of effectiveness and risk as compared with other instruments of national power, reports the Guardian.
According to the report, the policy directive defines the OCEO as operations and related activities conducted by or on behalf of the US government in or through cyberspace that are intended to enable or produce cyber effects outside US government networks.
The offensive cyber actions are expected to bring ''significant consequences'' by other nations including responsive actions against US, serious adverse foreign policy or economic impacts.
However, Sean Lawson, assistant professor in the department of communication at the University of Utah, said that when militarist cyber rhetoric results in use of offensive cyber attacks it is likely to result in physical, kinetic use of force.
The US has earlier participated in offensive cyber operations and widespread hacking, but the directive lays emphasis on cyber operations to be conducted in accordance with the US law.
Obama has further authorized the use of offensive cyber attacks in foreign nations without their government''s consent whenever the nation''s interests and equities require such non-consensual attacks as part of ''anticipatory action taken against imminent threats''.
Recently, Pentagon accused China of cyber attacks on its weapon systems to which the latter refuted. Government officials said that the directive will establish principles and processes that can enable more effective planning, development, and use of their capabilities and the procedures are consistent with the US constitution, the report added.
First Published: Saturday, June 8, 2013, 21:39