(NationalSentinel) National Security: The Pentagon says that both Russia and China have developed the capability to launching debilitating cyberattacks against critical U.S. infrastructure, and will continue to have that ability for at least the next decade.

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, in the interim the U.S. must develop ways to better protect infrastructure, like the vulnerable power grid:

A report by a Defense Science Board task force concludes that the decade-long cyber vulnerabilities must be mitigated while the Pentagon quickly creates new cyber deterrence capabilities, including offensive cyber weapons designed to inflict damage on adversaries and their leaders.

The 44-page report, “Task Force on Cyber Deterrence” was made public Feb. 28. It is based on a two-year study by a panel of military and defense experts.

The report presents a dire picture of weaknesses in both military and civilian information and control systems that are being exploited by advanced cyber warfare states such as China and Russia, along with second-tier cyber threats from states such as North Korea and Iran.

Source: Defense Department

While the Defense Department has long known that Russia and China possessed significant cyber warfare capabilities, this latest report is one if the few public acknowledgements of the scope and breadth of the problem.

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U.S. cyber capabilities are considered among the best in the world, but the United States is far more reliant on electronic systems than many adversaries, especially Iran and North Korea, which also have substantial cyberwar capabilities.

“The United States, as well as our allies and partners, are at serious and increasing risk of severe cyber attack and increasingly costly cyber intrusions,” the report concludes. “The requirement for enhanced deterrence is, in our view, not debatable. Nor is the need to accelerate the implementation of deterrence measures.”

The report further noted that even if U.S. infrastructure were hardened against cyber attack, they would continue to be vulnerable given Russia’s and China’s substantial resources being dedicated to cyber operations.

The Washington Free Beacon reported further:

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.), chair of the House Armed Services subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities, said the report highlights the threat of cyber warfare.

“Cyber warfare and influence campaigns being waged by state and non-state actors represent a national security challenge of generational proportions,” Stefanik said.

“I remain concerned about our apparent lack of a coherent whole-of-nation strategy, but the tangible recommendations in the report are a good place for Congress to start building that strategy,” she added.

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