Featured Article: A Clear Deterrence Strategy Required for Cyber

Featured article:

A Clear Deterrence Strategy Required for Cyber
by Terrence S. Allen

With the press of a button, a nation goes to war. Much of that nation’s livelihood will be destroyed with this button press. In the U.S. there is always an operator ready to hit their button, ensuring a devastating retaliatory attack. This was the scene during the Cold War, with the U.S. and Soviet Union both ready to ensure destruction of the other, should a nuclear launch ensue. Thankfully, that situation never occurred.

Today we live in a scenario very much like this, but with different weapons and participants. Instead of only a few countries with the capability to conduct nuclear warfare, strategic offensive cyberspace operations (OCO) can be conducted by anyone with a computer and network access. Just as the threat of nuclear war changed the conduct of warfare and threatened total war, strategic cyber weapons have the potential to do the same. Unfortunately there are no clear definitions for what is considered cyberwar versus cybercrime. A country’s interpretation between the two might simply be based on what side of the attack they are on. The U.S. must take the lead by defining what cyberwar is, what cybercrime is, and formulate a clear strategy on how best to deter future attacks on American targets.

After the U.S. used atomic bombs on Japan in WWII, it awoke the world to the real and devastating potential of nuclear weapons, changing the paradigm of warfare. This type of technological driven change is not new in the history of war. Technological advances such as the inventions of the longbow, gunpowder, machine guns, aircraft, and tanks all shifted the nature of war and forced paradigm changes…

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IAJ 8-3 (2017) PDF

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Major Terrence S. Allen is an Airborne Warning And Control System pilot currently assigned to School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at Maxwell Air Force Base. He earned his Masters in Military Operational Art and Science, and deployed multiple times in the U.S. Central Command area of operations.

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