The US troops may soon have the power to launch so-called logic bombs, instead of traditional explosive projectiles, these would essentially be able to direct an enemy’s critical infrastructure to self-destruct, likely with the loss of human life, according to Nextgov, a web-based information resource which reports on technology used by the US federal government.
Digital arms designed to kill are sanctioned under Pentagon doctrine, “Law of War Manual,” published in June.
There is a special section of the manual, Cyber Operations, which explains the application of the Law of War to cyber operations.
That means that, just as with traditional bombs and weaponry, cyber-strikes will be allowed if they have a proper legal basis, in order not to violate jus ad bellum (Latin for “right to war”) prohibitions on the resort to force.
These are essentially the same rules as for attacks employing traditional bombs or bullets.
The manual goes on to give grim examples of what might constitute acceptable uses for cyber-weapons: trigger a nuclear plant meltdown; open a dam above a populated area, causing destruction; or disable air traffic control services, resulting in airplane crashes.
US Cyber Command (US CYBERCOM), responsible for the development of the deadly cyber weapons, is set to outsource to industry all command mission support activities, including “cyber fires” planning, as well as “cyberspace joint munitions” assessments.
Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin – major US defense contractors — are among the companies set to compete for a $460 million contract.