From the annals of "I'm not sure he shoulda said that," the Defense and Acquisitions Journal's Colin Clark picks up the implication of a top Air Force general's hint that the United States possess the "nascent" capability to stop surface-to-air missiles via cyberwarfare. The how is easy to imagine: we break the encryption on the navigation systems of the foreign missile and steer it off course... or we break the encryption on the firing mechanism and send a false signal that turns the bomb into a dud. Our National Security Agency spends billions of dollars on codebreaking, and the Defense Intelligence Agency runs the Central MASINT Office to exploit information about Measurement and Signature intelligence, so it's not beyond the realm of possibility that those foreign entities who have the technology to target the U.S. would know that the U.S. would be doing everything to break the encryption on the missiles...which is why they're encrypted in the first place. The point is not to go all tech-geeky on everyone... but if the U.S. is developing this capacity, or if we have this capacity but aren't broadcasting it, then a lot of our political debates about cybersecurity and missile defense are outdated and unproductive.  Also, there's a government entity called the Missile and Space Intelligence Center, based in Alabama, that tracks information about -- and works with other agencies to exploit -- the technology behind any of the 500 or so different types of missiles that exist in the world today.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to