The Flawed Strategic Discourse on Cyber Power

  • September 15, 2015
  • Colonel Brandon Newton

This paper examines flaws in the strategic discourse on cyber power. The current discourse is flawed because it is dominated by hyperbole, misapplies context, and lacks sufficient precision in terms and definitions. There are two critical flaws in the current discourse. The first is descriptions of the existential nature of strategic cyber war, and the Armageddon like environment that would be created by such a war, despite evidence to the contrary. The second flaw is in the understanding of the context of any cyber action potential adversaries, state or non-state. Recommended adjustments to the discourse need to be informed by clear and valid assumptions on what can be done with cyber power, as well as the application of a model for cyber threat prioritization. The final analysis addresses the needed changes in education and training, and the role of humans in understanding the nature of cyber power.