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[Opinion] Military Security in Cyberspace

Posted October. 06, 2005 07:16,   


It was belatedly revealed that 73 pages of the latest Operation Plan 5027, a military secret, were released on the Internet. Operation Plan 5027 is a Korea-U.S. coalition operation plan against a possible all-out war on the Korean peninsula and is revised biannually. A first lieutenant let this information out on the Internet this May “by mistake.” It is more a result of a loosened sense of security than a mistake. This is not the first time that we have seen a lack of “cyberspace security discipline.” A month and a half ago, a military communications code word list was disclosed on the Internet. Last year, there were as many as three cases in which military secrets were similarly disclosed.

What good will national security reform do when military secrets keep leaking out into cyberspace? The grand plan to turn our military into a state-of-the-art science technology military is nothing more than a house of cards without watertight security. North Korea operates a unit of hundreds of hackers. To them, our military would seem like an “easy prey.” North Korean military hacker could be laughing at the recent incident saying, “We don’t really need to work since they’re leaking their secrets on their own.”

The reason behind this lack of military security should be identified. The first is that the military is failing to properly respond to the changes in the environment made by the universal Internet and cell phones. The former military security regulation was very strict. For instance, windows of civilian homes facing military airfields had to be covered. Later on, however, a significant part of the regulation came under criticism for being unrealistic. Overly strict security regulation, in some ways, weakened the sense of security. These problems should be complemented. A response measure is urgently needed to ensure the safe protection of secrets in cyberspace.

What is more important is the attitude of the authorities. Tasks such as military structure realignment and Ministry of Defense civilization are difficult to attain even when undertaken individually. However, these tasks are currently pursued simultaneously as a multi-track reform strategy, causing confusion in the military and shaking the military discipline. The authorities should learn that the shortcut to building a stronger military is putting a higher priority on eliminating the slightest possibility of a security leakage than on promoting a reform blueprint.

Song Moon-hong, Editorial Writer, songmh@donga.com