«Workshop held 9-10 January 2008 in Arlington, VA Prepared for US Strategic Command Global Innovation and Strategy Center (USSTRATCOM/GISC) Prepared ...»
Deterring Violent Non-State Actors
9-10 January 2008
in Arlington, VA
US Strategic Command Global Innovation and Strategy Center
Strategic Multi-Layer Analysis Team
Edited by Carl Hunt
and Nancy Chesser
The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and not
necessarily those of the Department of Defense or US Government.
UNCLASSIFIEDDeterring VNSA in Cyberspace
TABLE OF CONTENTSForeword — James Fallows
Preface — CAPT Todd Veazie
Executive Summary — Carl Hunt
1 Promoting and Protecting US Interests in the Cyber World: Violent (and non-Violent) Nonstate Actors - Workshop Summary — Carl Hunt
2 Life in the Interconnected World: Globalizing Effects of the Cyber Domain and a Typology to Accommodate the Effects — Lawrence Kuznar & Carl Hunt
2.A Deterrence in the 21st Century — Thomas Barnett
2.B Life in the Interconnected World: Globalizing Effects of the Cyber Domain — Rob Axtell
2.C Innovations in ‘Cyberism:’ An examination of the changes to Cyberspace in the coming decade — Ken Steinberg
3 Reevaluating Deterrence Theory & Concepts for Use in Cyberspace — Allison AstorinoCourtois & Matthew Borda
4 The Cyber-Physical Nexus: Movement between the Worlds: Non-State Actor’s Use of the Internet — S. K. Numrich
5 Models of Emergent Behavior of Violent Non-State Actors in Cyberspace — Bob Popp et al
Appendix A: Workshop Participants and Contributors
Appendix B: Workshop Notes — Alan Shaw
Appendix C: Acronyms
Foreword By James Fallows, Atlantic Monthly Magazine1 The simplest point to make about the essays that follow is the most important: they are worth reading.
The papers collected here offer a wide variety of perspectives, from different professional backgrounds, disciplines, and points of view. They complement each other – agreeing on some points, usefully disagreeing on others. They combine history, theory, sociology, and wellinformed technical discussion – plus in some cases pure and lively opinion. Together they do a good job of answering the question originally posed: about the effects of new technology and new dispersions of destructive power on the theory and practice of deterrence.
I could end my comments there and simply say, Read on. But let me make one other point about the value of the exercise that led to this volume. (For the record, I took no part in the conference that led to these papers and am reacting, on a volunteer basis, to what I have read here.) The details of conflict and combat are always changing: new adversaries, new technologies, new spheres of contention, new vulnerabilities, new avenues of defense and attack. But the fundamentals of conflict and combat are always the same. They involve recognizing and responding to the changed reality faster than an adversary can; using the new opportunities for attack and response; creating the bonds of trust, understanding, and shared values that let one’s own forces and allies cooperate spontaneously, while eroding those bonds on the other side.
At any given moment, strategic advantage will go to the side that best understands how the possibilities of the moment match the longer-term interests it wants to defend – that is, the side that can best match what is changing to what is constant. The conference that led to these papers should be understood as an attempt to work out that match.
A number the papers emphasize what of today’s new tools of communication have changed from the last time we defined deterrence—the Cold War. There are new means of recruitment, of propaganda and motivation, of exploiting vulnerabilities, yet also of providing resilience. But while the technology and business worlds have often assumed that “everything” has changed because of computers, Moore’s Law, and the Internet, and that we are in a one-way shift from past to future, many of the papers here emphasize what has not changed.
The process of deterrence is different from what it was during the Cold War, but some of its underlying principles still apply. Idealism, openness, and other elements of “soft power” have always been part of America’s strategy for undermining adversaries and preventing attacks.
They remain part of that strategy – and have taken on new importance and must be exercised through new technological means. Resilience, in the sense of preparing to rebound from attacks Editors Note: The Foreword to this report was provided by Mr. James Fallows, National Correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly Magazine. Mr. Fallows was unable to attend the workshop and provided this Foreword based on a review of the report and personal interaction with some of the writers. He was not compensated for this work in any way.
Deterring VNSA in Cyberspace that cannot be deterred, is also a long-standing part of national doctrine. (The Internet itself, after all, grew out of an effort to design a network that could withstand even nuclear attack.) But as some authors emphasize, resilience may be relatively more important now, when the nation cannot assume that it will be able to deter or prevent every conceivable terrorist attack.
For several years after the 9/11 attacks, many press and political commentators spoke as if the new diffusion of destructive power around the world, and the communications technologies that had been part of that diffusion, had placed the United States in a permanently more vulnerable and even fearful mode. The papers in this volume show that there is serious reason for concern, re-thinking, and vigorous new strategies – but not for defeatism or fear.
Dateline: March, 2008 James Fallows Beijing, PRC Deterring VNSA in Cyberspace Preface By Captain Todd Veazie USN The chapters before you were born from the examination of two fundamental questions regarding the nature and theory of deterrence in the 21st century. First we had to consider what had changed since our victory in the Cold War (the experience from which most of our current doctrine is derived); and, armed with that understanding, consider how the United States might execute deterrence strategy in this new era. Our study revealed elemental shifts in the state of play that required more than “tweaking” on the margins of our thinking. Our observations compelled us to challenge the epistemological underpinnings of traditional nation-state deterrence models. What can be held at risk as we seek to deter the violent metastasis of ideas propagated over the Internet? How can we prevail in a global marketplace of ideas without compromising our own sacred values? The enclosed pages contain comments, insights and recommendations that transcend any thinking about deterrence that has ever gone before those of us in uniform. As evidenced by the sage words of James Fallows in the Foreword to this report, the ideas contained within are “worth reading.” The Deterrence of Violent Non-State Actor Workshop during the period of 9-10 January 2008 was a special event that was both compelling and timely.
So what has changed? Of course, the answer is rather obvious yet curiously underrepresented in the recent deterrence scholarship. Humanity is undergoing a transformation from the Industrial Age characterized by machinery, factories, urbanization and measured change where resources, production and optimization were the source of wealth and power, to an Information Age, defined by knowledge and networks, interconnectedness, globalization, adaptability, agility, innovation and rapid change. New rules sets are emerging that cannot be predicted and with them come opportunities, creativity and societal dislocations that often breed violence and instability.
Like Damocles’ sword, this global interconnectivity both strengthens us and moderates us at the same time. We are strengthened because we are better connected to others than ever before and thus capable of spreading the seeds of liberty and opportunity to populations that yearn for it and where the lack of it is still being justified. We are moderated by this interconnectivity because others can more easily exploit the seams and turn our freedoms against us to infect with vitriolic propaganda that violently radicalizes populations across this interconnected web.
It is the matter of moderation of our strength that brought together the remarkable group of thinkers whose words are reflected within this report. We are concerned here with the problem of deterring violent non-state actors from doing harm to our nation and to our allies. The questions of extending freedom through access while mitigating the misuse of that freedom to harm us were the dominant questions we took up in this workshop. This report captures the intellectual power and dynamic interactions that took place during these two days and must be read by today’s and tomorrow’s decision-makers. These thoughts will inform the planning and execution of deterrence principles for years to come.
Deterring VNSA in Cyberspace During the workshop, our intrepid editor and valued contributor coined the phrase Deterrence
2.0 to reflect upon the way science of interconnectivity is changing our world. I believe this connotation was right on the money. The world has changed around us through globalization and the interconnected collectives we have empowered through our nation’s greatness in innovation and economic prosperity. Not only must we foster this empowerment, but we must also protect it. The thoughts captured within this report demonstrate this need and offer ideas about how to do it.
The world has changed and both the process and effects of deterrence are changing. This report is a magnificent beginning to a necessary discourse about Deterrence 2.0 and even Diplomacy
2.0. This conversation must include all of the United States and its Allies. I am delighted to forward this report to you, the reader. May we understand and learn to exploit the insights and recommendations of the authors as we better understand the principles of deterring violent nonstate actors in cyberspace. This report initiates that conversation.
Deterring VNSA in Cyberspace Executive Summary by Carl W. Hunt, Institute for Defense Analyses This report captures the essence of a two-day workshop on Deterring Violent Non-State Actors in Cyberspace, held on 9-10 January in Arlington, VA. The workshop was undertaken in response to a request from USAF Lt Gen Robert Elder to address deterrence of violent non-state actors (VNSA) in cyberspace, as a follow-on to the recently completed Strategic Deterrence Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) report.2 Participants in this workshop ranged from active military to civilian, including contractors and academics with backgrounds in physics, political science, social science (including anthropology) and technology fields. The purpose of the workshop was to engage experts in a strategic multilayer assessment of deterrence options in the 21st century that recognized an interconnected global threat environment for dealing with VNSA.
It was a remarkable two days of spirited interaction among the participants, enhanced by a topic that was timely and challenging. The insights and conclusions put forth by the participants, while hardly unanimous in detail, were not divergent either. As the remainder of this report shows, the United States faces a much more level global playing field as it seeks to shape deterrence options today than it did in the Cold War and before. Deterrence 2.0, as it became known in the workshop, is not always about holding at risk what the adversary values, particularly when these values might be manifested in far less tangible media than nation-states, their populations and their societies.
The participants, particularly the non-military practitioners, advised that the US consider traditional deterrence only as a baseline from which planners and policy-makers diverge to build adaptive (and more cooperative) forms of relationships with potential adversaries. While Cold War deterrence is still viable, the participants concluded, it will likely be less effective in the Cyber Age. Resiliency of US Infrastructure will be of great importance however, a hold-over from the Cold War forms of deterrence—forcing an adversary to conclude that there is no meaningful return on investment in attacking the US still works.
This report contains both a breadth and a depth of insights about the Cyber Age and what this country will face as it seeks new forms of deterrence policy and ways to implement the DIME power construct. We encourage the reader to take advantage of this report and study the insights of political scientists, economists, social scientists and even natural philosophers to better understand how the future of the Cyber Age may unfold and how the US will likely fit into this new Age. Deterrence 2.0 joins Web 2.0, Science 2.0 and other new forms of connected discourse for raising the curtain on the next stages of human history. This report gives a frontrow seat for the stage the US will occupy.
See Chesser (2007) for a detailed description of the strategic multilayer assessment (SMA) program, and for background on the initial Strategic Deterrence report done as an SMA project.
Deterring VNSA in Cyberspace 1 Promoting and Protecting US Interests in the Cyber World: Violent (and non-Violent) Non-state Actors - Workshop Summary by Carl W. Hunt, Institute for Defense Analyses The World of Deterrence 2.0 Like Web 2.0 and Science 2.0, “Deterrence 2.0,” or deterrence in the Cyber Age, is as much an emerging phenomenon as it is a sought-after method for dealing with both state and non-state actors in an increasingly interconnected world.3 All three next generation environments suggest worlds of interaction and dynamism that have never before been possible. Near-infinite interactions taking place over near-infinite connections leave those who seek to practice the deterrence of the Cold War world in a true quandary.