Finally, for years people such as former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, have warned about the United States’ vulnerability to cyber attacks. Panetta said adversaries such as China, Iran, and Russia are more than capable of using “cyber tools” to do anything from derailing trains to contaminating water supplies and shutting down power grids, while Alexander has rated America’s readiness for addressing a catastrophic cyber-attack “3 on a scale of 10.” So while Syria can’t reach the U.S. via missile, it and its allies are more than capable of launching cyber-initiatives.
The good news is companies the likes of Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD), and CACI International Inc (NYSE:CACI), are working to address U.S. cyber weaknesses. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) partnered with MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Purdue University to create the Cybersecurity Research Consortium. General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD) has decades of “cyber domain expertise,” and provides the only NSA-Certified SME PED, which is a secured wireless phone and PDA. And Lockheed Martin awarded CACI International Inc (NYSE:CACI)’s cybermarket division a $36 million five-year subcontract to provide cyberforensics and information technology solutions for the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center.
The bad news is, right now, the U.S. is still pretty vulnerable.
What to watch
Washington believes the Syrian government used chemical weapons. Vice President Biden went so far as to state, “No one doubts that innocent men, women, and children have been the victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria, and there’s no doubt who’s responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria: the Syrian regime.” That crossed the United States’ proverbial “line in the sand.”
Consequently, U.S. officials have said the Obama administration is looking at a sending a message through three days of missile strikes, and that the initiative will be “small-scale.” However, this could easily blow up into a much bigger conflict. Military action would of course benefit defense companies, and defensive stocks in general, but it could negatively affect the U.S. economy. This unfolding story is something to monitor closely.
The article Why U.S. Involvement in Syria Could Be Worse Than Afghanistan originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Katie Spence.
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