Defensive Cyberspace Initiatives

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The international political arena of the twenty-first century has largely been demarcated by the national security strategies of the United States. The keystone of these strategies has been the United States’ Global War on Terror and it has beguiled not only the U.S., but a majority of the Westernized governments into an over decade long conflict, extending across the globe. This more than decade long commitment to anti and counterterrorism operations has not only revolutionized contemporary warfare, but has spurred rapid international growth and integration of information technologies. Globally, information technology has permeated military weapon capabilities, military and domestic infrastructure and has increased global economic interdependence. As a result, cyberspace has become an attractively viable battlefield and an increasingly larger asymmetrical threat to U.S. national security interests. Historically, military victories have been achieved through direct physical confrontation. However, future military victories will not be demarcated by physical confrontation, but instead on the effectiveness of a state’s offensive cyber warfare tactics and its defensive cyberspace initiatives.
The single most defining variable of the United States’ Global War on Terror has been the reemergence of asymmetric warfare. For the first decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. enjoyed an unchallenged hegemonic role within the global arena. At that time, the U.S. possessed military supremacy over conventional forces and perceived no immediate peer competitors in the near term. This perception was fundamentally based on the lack of a potential adversary that possessed comparable military capabilities, such as cruise missiles, ...

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...ost effective, but they offer a substantial degree of plausible deniability. A typical paradigm that is often witnessed in international relations now is when the U.S. discovers forensic computer evidence linking various hacking attempts against U.S. networks to computers based, for example, in China. Operating under the assumption that China enjoys an authoritative role over its citizens, the U.S. can logically draw the conclusion that China must have sanctioned the cyber-attacks against the United States. However, this does not prove guilt as it is extremely easy for skilled hackers to misdirect suspicion by launching attacks via hijacked computers from known adversaries of the U.S. Conveniently enough, adversaries of the U.S., such as China and Russia, can utilize the same argument to cover their own cyber-attacks against the U.S. by claiming the same argument.

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