Previously, reports appeared now and then in open publications about the existence of such military detachments, but they were never officially confirmed. US media even circulated, as an example of their operation, a myth claiming that at the beginning of the Kosovo operation when NATO aviation started bombing military targets on Yugoslav territory, a team of US secret service or army specialists landed in Serbia, found the communication line that joined the air-defense systems of that country and connected its computer to it. After that, military hackers cracked the defense of the Serbian network. As a result, the Serbian military saw dozens of false targets on their radar screens, which drastically reduced the capability of the Serbian air-defense and allowed carrying off the operation with minimum losses. The operation was allegedly called "I-War".
Incidentally, various US departments (especially secret services) themselves had come under computer attacks. The US Department of Defense reported recently that over 75 thousand attempts to crack the Pentagon's computer defense system were recorded in 2004.
Already in 2003 president Bush signed a secret directive instructing the government to formulate a doctrine of cyber warfare against enemy computer networks.
In analysts' view, this decision is no less important than the doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons that had been worked out after the Second World War. The president's administration had to define the rules and conditions for military hackers to penetrate the enemy computer networks and play havoc with them.
Until recently official Washington claimed that the US had never conducted any large-scale cyber attacks. Nonetheless, cyber weapons are being developed in the US in earnest.
They say in the US that, hopefully, the day is not far when, in place of bombing the enemy strategic targets and costly ground operations, high skilled programmers will be employed. Wars will be waged without blood and loss of life. The battlefield will be transferred to the virtual space. The thunder of explosions and the roar of armor will be replaced by a quiet murmur of powerful processor units. Military specialists in computer and communication technologies will remotely disable enemy power stations and radars, destroy phone grids.
However, before military computer experts can cast their nets, the government will have to formulate a doctrine of "cyber wars", wherein it will be clearly defined who can give an order to launch a computer attack, what targets can be considered as legitimate, and what detachments will execute the order.