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Friday, October 7, 2022

Cybersecurity: What are the Best Options?

The Department of Defense’s newly-released cyber strategy isn’t strongly worded by any means, but it does state unambiguously that the US cyber strategy revolves around deterrence. While there is some ambiguous language amounting to a nod in the direction of offensive or retaliatory policies, the primary focus of the strategy is defensive which begs the question – what options do we currently have with deterrence?

According to Scott Jasper in the Strategic Studies Quarterly, deterrence is more complex than a one-dimensional plan to keep aggressors out. Deterrence by denial, deterrence by punishment and the newly-coined deterrence by entanglement are all strategies embodied within the overarching policy of general deterrence.

It has been US policy to confine our defense almost exclusively to deterrence by denial: by attempting to eliminate the ability of an aggressor to successfully obtain a payload. This strategy requires seamless defense–the ability to anticipate and guard against highly motivated attackers in a dynamically evolving field.

Deterrence by punishment, or the practice of placing a cost on the aggressor’s decision to attack, has been widely debated by policymakers and security professionals and affiliated with active defense or “hack back” practices. The final option, deterrence by entanglement, has only recently become a discussed option:  the concept that mutual interests and shared political, economic and diplomatic relationships encourage responsibility and nonaggression on the cyber front.

The latter strategy stands apart as more of a diplomatic solution than a policy one, so for the purposes of this discussion we’ll focus on the first two deterrence methods.

Read the complete report here.

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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