Traditional Military Thinking in Cyberspace: The Need for Adaptation
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Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)
Army Cyber Institute
Theories for conflict in the cyber world have not yet been developed, but the application of traditional military strategy and operational concepts in this realm can mislead, resulting in spurious assessments and unfavorable outcomes. Four tenets of the cyber world present profound challenges for the application of traditional military strategies in cyber conflicts. The cyber world is characterized by the following: a lack of object permanence, which undermines the concept of maneuver; limited or absent measurement of effectiveness in offensive cyber; conflicts that are executed at computational speed, thus removing the time window for meaningful strategic leadership; and anonymity that makes the parties to the conflict unknown. As a result, the use of traditional military thinking and path-dependent behavior in cyber is likely to lead to incorrect conclusions regarding strategic achievements and abilities in the pre-conflict stage, and increase the risk of strategic failure in actual conflict.
Kallberg, Jan, "Traditional Military Thinking in Cyberspace: The Need for Adaptation" (2018). ACI Books & Book Chapters. 6.
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