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Department of Defense Appropriations Act 1987, Pub. L. No. 99-591, 100 Stat. 3341-82, 3341-122 (Oct. 30, 1986), codified at 10 U.S.C. §167.
The Act provides specific authority to the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for the conduct of direct action, strategic reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, civil affairs, and psychological operations; also counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance, theater search and rescue, and such other activities as may be specified by the President or the Secretary of Defense.
- §113 provides that, subject to the direction of the President, the Secretary of Defense has authority, direction, and control over DOD;
- §164 provides specific authority for combatant commanders for the performance of missions assigned by the President or by the Secretary with the approval of the President.
Specific authorities for combatant commanders are provided in Title 10 to use force in self-defense and for mission accomplishment — including in the recently recognized information operations environment. In preparing for contingencies or military operations, DOD undertakes activities to lessen risks to U.S. interests, including discrete actions to prepare for and respond to a cyberwarfare-related incident.
Some military activities are conducted clandestinely to conceal the nature of the operation and passively collect intelligence. Activities focused on influencing the governing of a foreign country are deemed covert actions and may not be conducted by members of the military absent a presidential finding and notification of the congressional intelligence committees.
Proposed reforms Edit
Some analysts suggest that in the cyber domain distinguishing between whether an action is or should be considered covert or clandestine is problematic, as an attacking adversary’s intent and location are often difficult to discern. Should this Act be updated, reassessing DOD’s authorities in light of its unique intelligence capabilities may assist in responding to and conducting offensive cyber attacks.