The US policy of “defend forward” and “persistent engagement” in cyberspace raises the stakes of this attribution question as a matter of both international and domestic law.
Aegis: Security Policy in Depth
Aegis explores legal and policy issues at the intersection of technology and national security. Published in partnership with the Hoover Institution National Security, Technology and Law Working Group, it features long-form essays of the working group, examines major new books in the field, and carries podcasts and videos or the working group’s events in Washington and Stanford. Aegis examines the legal and policy options that better shield America, its allies, and civilians worldwide from the risks of the modern world. The Hoover Working Group on National Security, Technology, and Law brings together national and international specialists with broad interdisciplinary expertise to analyze how technology affects national security and national security law.
United States Cyber Command turned ten years old in 2020. It is a unique institution—a military command that operates globally against capable adversaries and yet never fires a shot—and its design has been a work in progress.
The United States has one of the world’s strongest and most sophisticated capabilities to launch cyberattacks against adversaries. How does the US Constitution allocate power to use that capability? And what does that allocation tell us about appropriate executive-legislative branch arrangements for setting and implementing cyber strategy?
As its name implies, the 2018 US Department of Defense Defend Forward strategy is principally reactive. The strategy assumes that the United States will continue to suffer harm from competitors and malign actors through cyberspace. Accordingly, it outlines US reactions in order to preempt threats, defeat ongoing harm, and deter future harm.
If information is power, then the corruption of information is the erosion, if not the outright usurpation, of power. This is especially true in the information age, where developments in the technological structure and global interconnectedness of information and telecommunications infrastructure have enabled states to engage in malicious influence campaigns at an unprecedented scope, scale, depth, and speed.
The Israeli equivalent to Defend Forward is far less regulated than its U.S. parallel, and that the Israeli version of Persistent Engagement at home allows domestic action and harnesses the private sector in ways that the U.S. approach does not contemplate.
When a state suffers an internationally wrongful act at the hands of another state, international law allows the injured state to respond in a variety of ways. Depending on the nature, scope, and severity of the initial wrongful act, lawful responses can range from a demand for reparations in response to a low-level violation to a forcible act of self-defense in response to an armed attack. Countermeasures offer an additional way for a state to respond to an internationally wrongful act.
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