Category Archives: Theory of Cyberpower

Strategy in the Contemporary World – the Cyber Dimension

SITCW 5th Ed

The 5th Edition of Strategy in the Contemporary World was published by Oxford University Press on 31 December 2015, and is available from all good booksellers.

Among the many excellent chapters on all things strategic by some of the leading thinkers around is my updated chapter (originally published in the 4th Edition) titled “The Rise of Cyberpower.

Strategy in the Contemporary World is a great introductory textbook for student and layman alike looking to understand the fundamentals of, and trends in, strategic studies.

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Filed under Books, Cyberpower, Cyberspace, Cyberwar, Professional Military Education, Publications, Shameless Self-Promotion, Strategic Theory, Strategy, Theory of Cyberpower

Geopolitics and Cyberpower: Why Geography Still Matters

AFPI Journal

I have a new article, “Geopolitics and Cyberpower: Why Geography Still Matters,” published in the latest issue of American Foreign Policy Interests, the journal of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy in New York City.

It’s an imperfect first attempt at an issue that is of enduring interest to me, so expect more on this from me down the road. That said, all comments and critiques are welcome. I hope you enjoy it: 10803920%2E2014%2E969174

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Filed under American Foreign Policy Interests, Cyberpower, Cyberspace, Cyberwar, Geography, Geopolitics, National Committee on American Foreign Policy, Publications, Shameless Self-Promotion, Strategic Theory, Strategy, Stuxnet, Theory of Cyberpower

Cyberpower Chapter in OUP’s ‘Strategy in the Contemporary World’

Strategy in the Contemporary World

I have a chapter titled “The Rise of Cyberpower,” in the forthcoming 4th edition of Strategy in the Contemporary World, published by Oxford University Press.

For those unfamiliar with it, Strategy in the Contemporary World has become the go-to introductory text on strategic studies. The 4th edition is expected to be published on February 7, 2013.

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Filed under Books, Cyberpower, Cyberspace, Cyberwar, Publications, Shameless Self-Promotion, Strategic Theory, Theory of Cyberpower

George C. Marshall Institute: Controlling Cyber Conflict? Arms Control, International Norms, and Strategic Restraint

I shall be moderating a panel discussion on “Controlling Cyber Conflict? Arms Control, International Norms, and Strategic Restraint,” on behalf of the George C. Marshall Institute, on Tuesday, 21 June, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Details are as follows, and I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011
8:30 a.m.-11 a.m.
National Press Club, 529 14th St, NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC

On June 21, the George C. Marshall Institute will host a panel discussion brings together expert panelists to discuss and explore how cyber conflict can be mitigated. Is the cyberspace domain amenable to arms control solutions, and what would such solutions look like, or are the development of international norms more appropriate? On the other hand, given the unique nature of the cyber domain is strategic restraint by individual actors, as well as the resilient character of the domain itself, enough to mitigate the worst excesses of any cyber conflict? The aim of the discussion would be to generate a broad yet informed debate that can better inform policy makers on the issues at stake.

The panelists are as follows:

  • Dr. John B. Sheldon, Professor, School of Advanced Air & Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, and Marshall Institute Fellow – Moderator
  • Mr. Robert J. Butler, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense. (Invited)
  • Mr. David E. Hoffman, Contributing Editor to Foreign Policy and The Washington Post, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy (Doubleday, 2009).
  • Dr. Christopher A. Ford, Hudson Institute, Washington, DC
  • Dr. James A. Mulvenon, Defense Group Inc., Washington, DC
  • Professor Martha Finnemore, George Washington, University, Washington, DC

For reservations, email info@marshall.org or call 571-970-3180.

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Filed under Arms Control, Cyberpower, Cyberspace, Cyberwar, Speaking Engagements, Theory of Cyberpower

Deciphering Cyberpower: Strategic Purpose in Peace and War

Inf_internet1

Strategic Studies Quarterly, published by Air University at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, has just published its Summer 2011 edition online. In it I have an essay titled "Deciphering Cyberpower: Strategic Purpose in Peace and War," part of my continuing effort to discern from cyberpower an enduring strategic perspective, despite the rapid change in cyber technologies. In the essay, I assert that the strategic purpose of cyberpower today is:

the ability in peace and war to manipulate perceptions of the strategic environment to one’s advantage while at the same time degrading the ability of an adversary to comprehend that same environment.

That, at least, is my take, and doubtless I'll change my mind at some point in the future. Am I right? Comments, suggestions, critiques, and even better, an alternative view, are very much welcomed.

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Filed under Cyberpower, Cyberspace, Cyberwar, Publications, Shameless Self-Promotion, Strategic Studies Quarterly, Strategic Theory, Strategy, Stuxnet, Theory of Cyberpower

Stuxnet and Cyberpower in War

111610-tehran-natanz-ahmadinejad-stuxnet_full_600

World Politics Review has just published an essay I wrote titled "Stuxnet and Cyberpower in War." The following is an extract and then a link to full piece at the World Politics Review website:

In June 2009, a computer worm called Stuxnet was unleashed against the nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz, Iran. Designed to infect the operating system used by the Iranians to control their nuclear centrifuges, Stuxnet significantly disrupted, and thus delayed, Iranian nuclear efforts, according to a New York Times report on Jan. 15, 2011. The Times report also provided a breathtaking peek behind the scenes of what appears to have been a large and complex covert operation to develop the Stuxnet worm. If the revelations are true, then the Stuxnet attack provides significant insights about the potential character of war by cyber means. They also raise serious questions about the use of cyberweapons in the future.

Since Stuxnet was discovered, there has been much commentary about what it means for cyberwar, a term that has become part of the contemporary strategic lexicon. The problem is that "cyberwar" is both an inaccurate descriptor of what Stuxnet and other possible cyberweapons portend, and artificially differentiates cyberpower — the ability to use cyberspace in peace and war in order to achieve political objectives — from the other military instruments as a tool of national power. Cyberpower must be analyzed and considered within the context of 21st century war and peace, not as an isolated phenomenon. To that end, the term "cyberwar" does not promote sound strategic thinking. Instead, it is more useful to talk of cyberpower in war, or war by cyber means.

While the Stuxnet worm reveals a number of characteristics about war by cyber means, it also raises many questions about this kind of warfare that policymakers would do well to ponder. Only by examining both sets of issues is it possible to determine whether Stuxnet is in fact a game-changer in the evolution of the cyber domain and in warfare in general.

http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/print/8570

 

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Filed under Cyberpower, Cyberspace, Cyberwar, Iran, Israel, Nuclear Weapons, Publications, Strategy, Stuxnet, Theory of Cyberpower

Sheldon to speak on Challenges in Cyberspace at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, 12 April, 2011

Shout it from the rooftops
I know, this shameless self-promotion is getting tedious, however I seem to be on a roll right now.

I'll be speaking on 'Challenges in Cyberspace' at the Belfer Center Library at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA, at 16:10 hrs (4:10 pm for you civilians) on Tuesday, 12 April, 2011.

Given the threatened government shutdown this event very nearly did not happen, so I am particularly glad that both sides reached a deal late last night.

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Filed under Cyberpower, Cyberspace, Cyberwar, Events, Shameless Self-Promotion, Speaking Engagements, Theory of Cyberpower