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Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Editor-in-Chief: Renda-Tanali, Irmak, D.Sc.

Managing Editor: McGee, Sibel, Ph.D.

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Strategic Cyber Defense: Which Way Forward?

Kenneth Geers
  • NCIS
Published Online: 2012-01-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/1547-7355.1868

Cyber security has evolved from a technical discipline to a strategic, geopolitical concept. The question for national security thinkers today is not how to protect one or even a thousand computers, but millions, including the “cyberspace” around them. Strategic challenges require strategic solutions. This article considers four nation-state approaches to cyber attack mitigation: 1) Technology: Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6); 2) Doctrine: Sun Tzu’s Art of War; 3) Deterrence: can we prevent cyber attacks?; 4) Arms control: can we limit cyber weapons? These threat mitigation strategies fall into different categories. IPv6 is a technical solution. Art of War is military. The third and fourth strategies are hybrid: deterrence is a mix of military and political considerations, while arms control is a political/technical approach. Technology and doctrine are the most likely strategies to provide short-term improvement in a nation’s cyber defense posture. Deterrence and arms control, which are more subject to outside political influence and current events, may offer cyber attack mitigation but only in the longer-term.

Keywords: cyber; doctrine; deterrence; arms control; IPv6

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Published Online: 2012-01-15

Citation Information: Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, ISSN (Online) 1547-7355, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/1547-7355.1868. Export Citation

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