Cybersecurity Project

Cyberspace presents an entirely new domain that is set to dominate both communication and commerce in the 21st century, but it also holds vast potential to spark new forms of conflict. The world has already witnessed the impact of software being repurposed as malware and, as exemplified by Stuxnet, the possible birth of a new class of weapon. The conduct of espionage, counter-terrorism, and even war are all being profoundly affected, with implications for the health of the economy, the role of government, and relations with other states.

Areas of study for the project include:

Managing cyberspace. How does an international system that depends on the Internet as the basis for the modern global economy and communications deal with a diverse and complex range of threats, from state-sponsored malware to authoritarian regimes’ attempts to change the internet’s traditional structure and governance? How will these forces influence U.S. power? What is the role of the private sector, which owns most of the internet, in helping to address these issues? What is the proper role for the U.S. Government in dealing with these new sorts of security challenges, and in particular, what are the implications for the Department of Defense and the intelligence community?

Future trends. Technology evolves, yet a large amount cybersecurity research and resultant cyber policies too often assume a static world. Therefore, another of the project’s core tracks will take a look ahead, exploring key long-term issues, such as what “big data,” the expected shift to the “cloud,” and the evolution toward an “internet of things” will mean for cybersecurity threats and policy. Other lines of inquiry will focus on critical parts of the national security and corporate enterprises that have been ignored thus far in cyber discussion and policy debates (e.g., potential vulnerabilities in the maritime/shipping domain and other infrastructure critical to U.S. trade).

Broader lessons. Any discussion of 21st century defense and intelligence policies must now include cybersecurity issues. As such, the Cybersecurity project’s research will draw on lessons learned from the other initiatives within 21CSI. In turn, more and more of the policy concerns raised by other 21CSI scholars will directly or indirectly involve cybersecurity, which will further complicate how trends in the cyber realm will affect both the organization and operation of the Department of Defense and the intelligence community.