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Cyberspace and the US National Interest

October 25, 2010

This is the first post in many months – have been busy with a number of things.  But my Belfer Center discussion paper, Protecting Cyberspace and the US National Interest, that I co-authored with Michael Sechrist, has been finally published.

From our summary:

We assess ‘protecting cyberspace,’ while extremely important, does not rise to the level of a first-order national security challenge as countering nuclear proliferation and defeating al Qaeda because most threats to America’s digital infrastructure do not undermine core security interests. Most challenges to cyberspace, such as cybercrime, cyberespionage and cyberterrorism, can be ably handled by domestic law enforcement and intelligence services. The exemption to this assessment would be so-called ‘cyberwar’ between nations; however, a sophisticated, serious digital attack on the US would likely be attributable and carried out by states in concert with conventional kinetic options — acts of war that would provide the US the legal, moral and military authorities to respond.

Recognizing cyberspace’s role as a medium for security, communication and commerce, we detail five ways that the US can better protect cyberspace: establish a comprehenive strategy, maintain strong deterrents, strengthen public-private partnerships, avoid bureaucratic overreach, and forge an international consensus. By doing so, policymakers can make better-informed decisions about how to properly defend the country from threats to America’s digital infrastructure.

Love to hear your comments on this.  We’re still tinkering on the edges to make this a better publication.

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