- The Washington Times - Monday, August 26, 2013

The United States has the best offensive military capacity in cyberspace of any nation, the head of the agency at the center of a domestic spying scandal said in congressional testimony published Monday.

Gen. Keith B. Alexander, director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, said, “We believe our [cyber] offense is the best in the world.”

His comments came in answers to questions from a March 2013 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee

Gen. Alexander said the United States maintains a “deep, persistent and pervasive presence on adversary [computer] networks.”

“We maintain that access, gain deep understanding of the adversary, and develop offensive capabilities through the advanced skills and tradecraft of our analysts, operators and developers. When authorized to deliver offensive cyber effects, our technological and operational superiority delivers unparalleled effects against our adversaries’ systems,” Gen. Alexander explained in response to a question from Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican.

But potential adversaries rapidly are developing their own offensive cyberskills, and the U.S. military must continue its “rapid development and resourcing of our Cyber Mission Forces” to deny them “an asymmetric advantage.”

The testimony was first reported and posted online by Secrecy News, a computer site run by government transparency advocate Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists.

In response to a question from Rep. James R. Langevin, Rhode Island Democrat, Gen. Alexander added that U.S. cybermission forces would be trained “over the next three years” to “perform world-class offensive and defensive cyber operations.”

NSA has been rocked with scandal since May when fugitive Edward Snowden revealed the agency’s electronic snooping program, which collects massive amount of information about U.S. citizens and foreign nations.