Volume 31, Issue 2, Summer  2017

Refocusing Cyber Warfare Thought

Although military cyber theory has come a long way in the past decade, we have a persistent, natural tendency to see cyberspace as a physical environment and apply war-fighting principles from the other traditional operational domains. To establish a foundation for developing sound theory, this article attempts to identify the core defining characteristics of cyberspace. It points out the flaws in using physically oriented paradigms of cyberspace as a basis for developing theory and doctrine and advocates that we focus on its logical/virtual nature as well as its ability to process, exchange, and store information rapidly through automated means. The article concludes by identifying some implications that challenge existing attempts to apply traditional airpower and warfare principles directly to cyberspace.


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Myla 2/7/2013 7:21:41 PM

ASPJ should publish the cutting edge thinking on cyber, not just repackaged arguments from the 2000s. No wonder the AF has lost it's strategic thought advantage on cyber. It's main journal has no quality control!

Maj Sean Butler 2/20/2013 9:03:27 AM

Myla, thanks for reading the article. Sorry you didn't find it worthwhile, but it wasn't intended as a "repackaged argument from the 2000s", though it did revisit an unsettled argument. My intent was also not exactly to be "cutting edge thinking", as such, but rather to critique exactly how we approach our thinking on cyber on a more fundamental level. Much like early seapower theory was framed in land warfare terms and Douhet clearly exhibited a naval mindset in his thoughts on airpower, I think we may be too air-focused in our thinking on cyberspace. That's the main point of the article.

David Rairdan 4/1/2013 3:57:34 PM

In reading your article I was looking for any comments concerning facilities designed to support cyber ops. We see a lot of money going into reno of older buildings, instead of new construction that would benefit our cyber folks better and be more efficient for future upgrades.