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updated 3/14/2011 2:14:10 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:14:10

The Pentagon is about to add cyberspace as a legitimate battlefield, a senior Defense Department official told attendees at the RSA security conference in San Francisco yesterday (Feb. 15).

"Our military must be as capable in this new domain as it is in more traditional domains,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn III, referring to military theory that divides warfare into the domains of land, sea, air and space.

The almost-finished strategy, to be called Cyber 3.0, gives the Pentagon the responsibility of defending government networks from attack, according to George Hulme’s report on CSO Online.

It’s not yet clear how much Cyber 3.0 will overlap with – or work against – the Department of Homeland Security’s own National Cyber Security Division, or how much it will involve the Pentagon’s National Security Agency.

But Lynn noted that due to the structure of the Internet, cyberdefense would require extensive civilian cooperation.

“The government cannot protect our nation alone," he said. "The overwhelming percentage of our nation's critical infrastructure — including the Internet itself — is largely in private hands. It is going to take a public-private partnership to secure our networks."

And if that partnership happens, Lynn said, government will have to learn to move much more quickly.

He gave the example of the iPhone, which was conceived, designed, developed, manufactured and marketed, from start to finish, in the space of 24 months.

"That is less time than it takes us to prepare a budget and receive congressional approval for it,” Lynn said. “This means I get permission to start a project at the same time Steve Jobs is talking on his new iPhone. It's not a fair trade. We have to close this gap. Silicon Valley can help us."

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