While NATO members continue to supply weapons to Ukraine, they should consider the benefits and risks associated with extending these deliveries to include cyber weapons.
Latest in Cyber Warfare
Subversive cyber operations are argued to have “limited utility in practice” because of the inherent trade-offs of the trilemma/quadrilemma. However, this assessment ignores several key factors.
Infiltrate, Exploit, Manipulate: Why the Subversive Nature of Cyber Conflict Explains Both Its Strategic Promise and Its Limitations
Cyber operations are not novel, nor is their impact revolutionary. They are instruments of subversion that promise great gains in theory but are constrained in practice by a crippling operational trilemma that limits strategic value.
Concerns about changes to the U.S. policy on offensive cyber operations raise an interesting and important question about the balance of power between the White House and the Department of Defense. But this is a poor framing of the problem.
Russia’s relatively weaker position within the global financial system has limited Putin’s punitive options in response to Western economic and financial sanctions. Cyberspace offers attractive alternative options for hackers and security planners in Moscow.
Within the Department of Defense, terms such as “information warfare” and “psychological operations” have elastic and ambiguous meanings. What does this reveal about the Department’s approach to non-kinetic operations?
As Bobby Chesney recently discussed, President Trump on Aug. 15 reportedly substituted a new classified order for a classified Obama-era presidential directive governing the interagency review and decision process for cyber operations.
As I noted in my post yesterday, the Chinese government has declined to clarify how and whether it believes the international law governing the use of applies to cyber warfare. Its refusal to do so has drawn sharp criticism from the U.S. and other cyber powers.
Forcing China to Accept that International Law Restricts Cyber Warfare May Not Actually Benefit the U.S.
This past June, after U.N.-sponsored negotiations on the application of international law to cyber warfare collapsed, lead U.S. negotiator Michele Markoff released a blistering statement criticizing those that “believe their states are free to act in or through cyberspace to achieve their political ends with no limits or constraints on their actions. That is a dangerous and unsupportable view.”
Last Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal (November 10, 2015) carried a front-page story titled “Ukraine: Cyberwar’s Hottest Front.” A few weeks earlier, the Journal had carried a related front-page article, “Cyberwar Ignites a New Arms Race” (October 11, 2015) – subtitled “Dozens of countries amass cyberweapons, reconfigure militaries to meet threat.” Militaries and policy-makers around the world have awoken to the fact that cyberwarfare is already a r