Perhaps the best starting point for those looking to “borrow” a deterrent strategy for cyberspace from other fields is not the example of nuclear deterrence but instead the example of United States-Mexican border security. The nuclear deterrent analogy is not the best fit for understanding cyber-deterrence—due to the ways in which rewards and payoffs for would-be attackers in cyberspace are different from those in the nuclear analogy—among other factors. The emphasis here is not on deterrent effects provided by specific weapons but rather on the ways in which human actors understand deterrence and risk in making an attempt to violate a border, and the ways in which security architects can manipulate how would-be aggressors think about these border incursions. This Letort Paper thus borrows from the criminology literature rather than the military-security literature in laying out how individuals may be deterred from committing crimes in real space and in cyberspace through manipulating rewards and punishments. Lessons from attempts at deterring illegal immigration along America’s borders are then presented, with lessons derived from those situations, which are helpful in understanding how to deter incursions in cyberspace.
While conflict in cyberspace is not new, the legality of hostile cyber activity at a state level remains imperfectly defined. While there is broad agreement among the United States and its allies that cyber warfare would be governed by existing laws of armed conflict, with no need for additional treaties or conventions to regulate hostilities online, this view is not shared by many nations that the United States could potentially face as adversaries. The author illustrates the very distinct set of views on the nature of conflict in cyberspace that pertains to Russia. He provides an important window into Russian thinking and explains how fundamental Russian assumptions on the nature of cyber activity need to be considered when countering, or engaging with, Russian cyber initiatives.
This volume has three parts: the first focuses on cyberspace itself; the second on some of the major forms of malevolence or threats that have become one of its defining characteristics; and the third on possible responses to these threats. One of the most significant features of cyberspace, however, is that it is becoming a risky place for the entire spectrum of users: nation-states, nongovernmental and transnational organizations, commercial enterprises, and individuals. Yet it is a space of opportunities—for benevolent, neutral, and malevolent actors. Moreover, the authors identify and assess the challenges and threats to security that can arise in cyberspace because of its unique nature. In the final section, the authors discuss a variety of responses, with some suggesting that the most favored options being pursued by the United States are poorly conceived and ill-suited to the tasks at hand.
The United States finds itself in a presidential election year that will certainly result in new priorities and policies. By the time this article is published, the world will know the results of the March madness primary elections and caucuses. Currently, the nation is choosing between two Democrat and three Republican candidates, with a real possibility of having contested conventions in both parties come July. National security policy and the employment of the nation’s Joint Force are perhaps the most sacred responsibilities of the commander in chief, and a central theme in the run-up to the July conventions. Army leaders are interested in the variance among the candidates’ national security policy positions and their potential implications on land forces.
America’s efforts in the war on terror have been substantial and sustained, with more than four trillion dollars spent, two and a half million military members sent into harm’s way, and nearly 7,000 service members losing their lives over the past 15 years. To date, however, few studies have sought to measure the effectiveness of those efforts. This study empirically assesses the extent to which US efforts in the war on terror have achieved the government’s objectives and concludes those endeavors have been largely ineffective.
Discussions of an emerging practice of “gray zone” conflict have become increasingly common throughout the U.S. Army and the wider national security community, but the concept remains ill-defined and poorly understood. This monograph aims to contribute to the emerging dialogue about competition and rivalry in the gray zone by defining the term, comparing and contrasting it with related theories, and offering tentative hypotheses about this increasingly important form of state competition. The idea of operating gradually and somewhat covertly to remain below key thresholds of response is hardly new. Many approaches being used today—such as support for proxy forces and insurgent militias—have been employed for millennia. The monograph argues that the emergence of this more coherent and intentional form of gray zone conflict is best understood as the confluence of three factors. Understood in this context, gray zone strategies can be defined as a form of conflict that pursues political objectives through integrated campaigns; employs mostly nonmilitary or nonkinetic tools; strives to remain under key escalatory or red line thresholds to avoid outright conventional conflict; and moves gradually toward its objectives rather than seeking conclusive results in a relatively limited period of time. Having examined the scope and character of gray zone conflict, the monograph offers seven hypotheses about this emerging form of rivalry. Finally, the monograph offers recommendations for the United States and its friends and allies to deal with this challenge.
The U.S. defense export system needs further major reforms to reduce inefficiencies and weaknesses. Although the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) do help prevent potential foreign adversaries from using U.S. arms against the United States and its allies, the Regulations, as enforced, can weaken U.S. national security in other important ways. For example, by excessively impeding defense exports, the ITAR makes it more difficult for U.S. firms to sustain core U.S. defense technological and industrial advantages, decreases U.S. military interoperability with allies that purchase ITAR-free weapons from other sources, and generates other undesirable effects for the U.S. Army and U.S. national security.
American security policy rests on a three-legged stool consisting of defense, diplomacy, and development. As President Obama implied in his May 2014 speech at West Point, the United States is in the midst of a resurgence of diplomacy and development, as it seeks to leverage diplomatic influence, foreign aid, and multilateral institutions to solve the most vexing international security challenges. However, the dramatic rebalance toward diplomacy and development over the last several years has largely has failed. Rhetoric, official strategies, and actual policies have all aimed at rebalancing the three legs of the foreign policy stool. However, several factors point to a continued militarization of U.S. foreign policy, including funding levels, legal authorities, and the growing body of evidence that civilian agencies of the U.S. Government lack the resources, skills, and capabilities to achieve foreign policy objectives. Continued reliance by senior decisionmakers at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue on the U.S. military in the development, planning, and implementation of U.S. foreign policy has significant implications. Foremost among them is the fact that the military itself must prepare for a future not terribly unlike the very recent past.
Is offshore balancing the right grand strategy for America? Is it time for Washington to roll back the vast system of overseas security commitments and forward military deployments that have anchored its international posture since World War II? This monograph argues that the answer to these questions is no. Offshore balancing represents the preferred grand strategy among many leading international-relations “realists,” who argue that significant geopolitical retrenchment can actually improve America’s strategic position while slashing the costs of its foreign policy. The reality, however, is rather different. The probable benefits of offshore balancing—both financial and geopolitical—are frequently exaggerated, while the likely disadvantages and dangers are more severe than its proponents acknowledge. In all likelihood, adopting this strategy would not allow America to achieve more security and influence at a lower price. The more plausible results would be to dissipate U.S. influence, to court heightened insecurity and instability, and to expose the nation to greater long-range risks and costs.
Combatant Commanders (CCDR) should maximize every opportunity to enhance joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational (JIIM) partnerships and improve strategic alliances. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) operates globally and integrates across the interagency, providing unique regional access, understanding and opportunity. Integrating USACE activities during all phases of planning synchronizes Combatant Command (CCMD) strategic effects with the planning efforts of the Department of State (DoS) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Formalizing the relationship of the aligned USACE Divisions with each CCMD enhances this process. Growing the capability of the USACE Liaison teams, improving the integration of engineer assets, and formalizing the USACE Division’s role on the CCDRs staff will enhance the strategic nexus of defense, diplomacy and development. To achieve the full potential for interagency support, the USACE and Army Engineer Regiment should pursue opportunities to refine and expand how engineer effects are integrated into security cooperation activities at all levels of planning from strategic to tactical.