Cyberwar, Real and Imagined (World Politics Review Features)

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Has the Stuxnet worm ushered in a new era of cyberwar, or is it simply the latest iteration of familiar strategic instruments? Has the Internet irrevocably shifted the balance between individuals and states, or will governments adapt to regain the upper hand? Does the real threat to cybersystems lie within cyberspace, or in the real world? Cyberwar has become a permanent feature of the strategic landscape, but we might hardly know it.

Wars of Disruption and Resilience: Cybered Conflict, Power, and National Security (Studies in Security and International Affairs)

Wars of Disruption and Resilience: Cybered Conflict, Power, and National Security (Studies in Security and International Affairs)Increasingly, the power of a large, complex, wired nation like the United States rests on its ability to disrupt would-be cyber attacks and to be resil­ient against a successful attack or recurring campaign. Addressing the con­cerns of both theorists and those on the national security front lines, Chris C. Demchak presents a unified strategy for survival in an interconnected, ever-messier, more surprising cybered world and examines the institutional adaptations required of our defense, intelligence, energy, and other critical sectors for national security.

Demchak introduces a strategy of “security resilience” against surprise attacks for a cybered world that is divided between modern, digitally vulner­able city-states and more dysfunctional global regions. Its key concepts build on theories of international relations, complexity in social-technical systems, and organizational-institutional adaptation. Demchak tests the strategy for reasonableness in history’s few examples of states disrupting rather than conquering and being resilient to attacks, including ancient Athens and Sparta, several British colonial wars, and two American limited wars. She applies the strategy to modern political, social, and technical challenges and presents three kinds of institutional adaptation that predicate the success of the security resilience strategy in response. Finally, Demchak discusses implications for the future including new forms of cyber aggression like the Stuxnet worm, the rise of the cyber-command concept, and the competition between the U.S. and China as global cyber leaders.

Wars of Disruption and Resilience offers a blueprint for a national cyber-power strategy that is long in time horizon, flexible in target and scale, and practical enough to maintain the security of a digitized nation facing violent cybered conflict.

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