Military Classification Labels: Top Secret

Top Secret Advantages

“Whenever you go to war, you want the most advantages possible.  You want to overwhelm the enemy with such firepower that they lose the will to fight knowing they are going against an impossible victory.”

I remember my dad explaining this to me once.

I thought about the last few wars in my lifetime involving the USA.  With Desert Storm, America had dominant air superiority, as well as Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.  There was always a huge advantage in military might in order to ensure a quick victory, as well as minimizing the loss of life.

Then I thought about WW2.  It seemed that Britain, Germany, USA, and Japan were all sort of on the same playing field.  It almost looked like Britain might even lose, after which German forces would start targeting America across the Atlantic.  So what happened that led to complete victory for the Allies and a loss for the Axis Powers?

In relation to CISSP subject matter, I think it was the maintenance and the loss of confidentiality.


The Confidentiality of the Atomic Bomb

The Manhattan Project was an effort by the Allies in 1943 to create and test the first successful nuclear bomb.  The bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 brought an end to the war for Commander Tojo’s Imperial Army, at which point the defeat of Germany was already imminent.  Germany was not as close to a nuclear bomb as the Allies, and the shock of seeing it in use must’ve dealt a deeper psychological blow to Hitler’s campaign.

What if word leaked out that the Americans were working on a nuclear bomb?  What if America lost the advantage of a weapon that could put an end to the war?  I don’t know for sure, but I’m glad it didn’t happen.

Alan Turing

Alan Turing

The Disclosure of Enigma

The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril” – Winston Churchill

In order to secure supplies in France and other parts of Europe, the British Naval forces escorted supply ships through the Atlantic.  The Germans found this a critical point to hit in order to weaken Britain.  They started to launch successful U-boat campaigns that resulted in devastating losses for the British.  The Germans would communicate with their U-boats under the Atlantic Sea using a top secret communication device called the Enigma.

Alan Turing, the father of modern computers, managed to crack the code to this device by building a machine that could process thousands of calculations in a single second, known today as the world’s first computer.

The German High Command used repetitive phrases and commands frequently in their communication, leading the Allies to break the code using a form of known-plaintext attack.  Bad move, it lost them the war.

The Importance of “Top Secret”

The Manhattan Project and Enigma are examples of projects that have a Top Secret military classification.  Disclosure of such information could lead to loss of life and the potential to alter the course of history.

Other examples of documents that could have a Top Secret classification: 

Spy satellite imagery 
Troop movements
Information from recruited spies