Project on Cyber and National Security
There are currently four areas of research underway.
The main effort at SIPA researches the dynamics of cyber conflict – what is true or believed to be true about cyber conflict, such as the difficulty of attribution, lack of strong borders, or that attacks can happen at “network speed.” Such dynamics are cited in every research paper and government strategy but to date, there has not been a complete, structured discussion of these dynamics from first principles. This research, conducted by Adlai E. Stevenson Professor Robert Jervis and Senior Research Scholar Jason Healey, is the first comprehensive framework of the dynamics of cyber conflict. The academic papers on this work are still in draft but are summarized here as a short brochure that summarizes research to date, providing a two page summary and tables of the dynamics, their categorization, and a summary of the most important dynamics.
- Brochure on the Dynamics of Cyber Conflict
- On the Current Confrontation with Iran (War on the Rocks, 9 January 2020)
- There Is Now a Well Documented Example of Cyber Deterrence (Defense One, 15 June 2018)
- Not the Cyber Deterrence the United States Wants (CFR Blog, 11 June 2018)
A related effort analyzes the new U.S. strategy on cyber deterrence and persistent engagement. It is not an exaggeration that the U.S. position is increasingly that “the best defense is a good offense.” The central part of this work examines the history of cyber deterrence and active defense and the possible feedback loops through which the new U.S. strategy might dampen or amplify conflict. A side effort, in partnership with Neil Jenkins of the Cyber Threat Alliance, is researching possible metrics for the government, private sector, and academics to assess if the strategy is working as intended.
- Success of Persistent Engagement in Cyberspace (Strategic Studies Quarterly, Spring 2020)
- Implications of Persistent (and Permanent) Engagement in Cyberspace (Journal of Cybersecurity, Volume 5, Issue 1, 2019,)
- Rough-and-Ready: A Policy Framework to Determine if Cyber Deterrence is Working or Failing (CCDCOE, 2019)
- Defense Support to the Private Sector: New Concepts for DoD’s National Cyber Defense Mission (Army Cyber Institute, 14 November 2018)
Two more related research efforts investigate cyber effects on the battlefield and changes to civilian-military relations. Most assessments of cyber use on the battlefield either focus on achieving or defending against specific effects or arguing whether cyber capabilities will have an important impact. The SIPA research goes back towards first principles to categorize how such capabilities can be used, analyze the potential impact, and assess which uses might indeed be revolutionary. The initial hypothesis on the work on civil-military relations is that cyberspace has unique attributes which challenge the traditional conceptions of the role of military and society. For example, the traditional military model assumes the central role of the state, strong borders, and hierarchy, while the Internet was engineered to have almost the exact opposite characteristics.
Other related research:
- Vulnerabilities, the Search for Buried Treasure, and the US Government (OODA Loop, 14 January 2020)
- Governments, Cyber Vulnerabilities, and the Search for Buried Treasure (Chapter in Building Common Approaches for Cybersecurity and Privacy in a Globalized World, 23 December 2019
- Five Jeez: Five Security Arguments Against Huawei 5G (CFR Blog, 4 September 2019)
- Getting the Drop in Cyberspace (Lawfare, 19 August 2019)
- Taking Down Russian Trolls is My Kind of Cyber Attack (The Cipher Brief, 28 February 2019)
- From Cybernetics to Cyberspace (Air Force Magazine, January 2019)
- Zero Botnets: Building a Global Effort to Clean Up the Internet (CFR, November 2018)
- The Argument for Mapping Cyber Response (Cipher Brief, 19 June 2018)