The Pentagon has plenty of problems on it’s hands this week. Some of the issues facing the military are so old school they never thought they would have to deal with them again. Others are cutting edge dilemmas that officials  find themselves sometimes shockingly unprepared for.

First comes the classic problem – what’s a military to do when faced with the problem of piracy?  According to a new report on piracy commissioned by Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, almost anything. The report lays out options for dealing with the problem that range from establishing an international force of sea cops to creating expensive, easy to patrol shipping lanes for commercial ships to assigning squads of armed sailors to commercial vessels. Almost no avenue is unexplored in the report, which leaves open the possibility of sending ground troops into Somalia to disable pirate camps and refuges further inland. Notably absent from the report is the time honored naval tradition of privateering. But with Spike TV getting a wide demographic swath of testosterone laden young men revved up for assaults on pirate ships, it may only be a matter of time before the first letters of marque of the twenty-first century are issued to a new generation of the breed of enthusiastic, gun toting freebooters that made this country great.

On the other end of military history, the Pentagon is determined to not be caught with it’s pants down on the digital battlefield again. Following a recent spate of embarrassing cyber security incidents, including the compromise of details on the Joint Strike Fighter program, the military is ramping up cyber security. And operating under the notion that the best defense is a good offense, they’ve announced a new branch of the military concerned with digital warfare. Set to open up shop in 2010, the new department will not only be concerned with countermeasures to digital threats from outside the US, but also developing the weapons needed to take the fight to hackers throughout the world. Quickly now, someone get Cereal Killer on the red phone!