With Twitter revolutions, state-sponsored hacking and the Stuxnet virus driving rapid change in the cyber-age battlefield, this World Politics Review special report examines the state of cyber power through articles published in the past year.
Are our networked societies really vulnerable, as some have suggested, to a knock-out blow, perpetrated by state-sponsored hackers or terrorists? And what can be done to defend the state from this and from the encroachment of external networks that transcend its borders and breach its laws?
This Adelphi tackles the range of issues raised by our dependence on digital networks. It considers how instantaneous, global communications are challenging national and social orders and what shape those challenges may take as the net is cast ever wider. Comparing the transformations of the Information Age with those of previous generations, when new technologies and emerging transnational threats spread panic in political and strategic circles, the authors examine the real implications for states and statehood. Read more
‘In the cyber domain, policy has fallen far behind technology and operational art. By providing a conceptual framework for looking at what power is in the cyber domain and how it is exercised, this book offers policy-makers valuable guidance in how to think about a major security issue.’ Michael Hayden, Director of the CIA, 2006–09
‘Cyberspace offers a wealth of threats, benefits and opportunities for governments, business and the citizen. This book provides a stimulating contribution to the policy debate around cyber.’ Iain Lobban CB, Director, GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters)
“It is late fall 2025; Al Qaeda sleeper cells target the disruption of airline traffic into multiple East coast airports during the busy travel season from Thanksgiving through Christmas. ADS-B IN/OUT has been fully implemented by the FAA; all commercial airlines have invested heavily to comply with the mandate. Oil prices are at an all time high and flights are carrying minimal fuel loads to save money and offset the cost of avionics.
The goal: force multiple airplanes to divert; pilots, FAA controllers and passengers to lose faith in the system; and possibly cause enough chaos to the NAS system that a few lives are lost.
The plan: exploit the U.S. dependency on ADS-B IN/OUT and GPS for arrivals into busy airports, especially during low visibility conditions.
The teams: five two man teams have been put into play for the mission. They are provided with all the commercially available technology they will need, along with a few modified laptop computers, antennas and transmitters.
The targets: Regan National, Dulles, La Guardia, JFK and Philadelphia International airports. The terrorists have been tasked to park minivans with computers containing modified software that are coupled to ADS-B OUT transmitters. The software is designed to be remotely activated and controlled over an Internet connection. Each computer is programmed specifically for the targeted airport, and transmits 978MHz and 1090MHz signals out a boosted transmitter.
As a result, airlines on final approach will receive false targets on their displays. The terrorists ghost target injects also propagate to the FAA controller’s screens. The terrorists intended these spoofed targets, programmed at conflicting arrival and departure corridors as well as in runway incursion situations, to cause multiple airports to become temporarily unusable. The resulting domino effect causes aircraft diversions and delays that will lead to chaos.”
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.
The approach is an analogy with the rise of Air Power and its Theories, as well as Air Forces, from the invention of the balloon, by priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão, to the present day, under the focus of Intelligence for military use. Examines aspects of the emergence of Air Power Theories and as in its early days the air vector was seen only as a tool for Intelligence, without any military value as stated by Marshal Foch in 1910, notably with use only for the (Aerial) Reconnaissance, replacing the cavalry and later seen as a replacement to the high spots on the ground, as the Military Doctrine of the time. In this analogy, we have uncovered a probable metric for chronology of emergent Cyber Power in function of the use of the Fifth Dimension: Cyberspace; until then only seen as a source of Intelligence, without any military value. The author leads the audience to question at what timeline point, in the use of Cyberspace, we would be: at the time of the Duque de Caxias balloons (or American Civil War) or UAV? The speaker brings to reflect the questioning of how far away we are from what could be Cyber Power Theories and Cyber Forces (the next Force among Armed Forces) and how Intelligence has and will have a key role in this evolution.