The Time Has Come for Rules of Engagement for Cyberwarfare


After over half a century of unmatched global security dominance, the United States and its western allies are now faced with a rapidly-changing playing field in what is now considered the fifth domain of battle: cyberwarfare. Russian, North Korean and Iranian hackers are beginning to push the limits of our current bounds of war, making this period of international relations trickier for military leaders and policymakers to decide not only if they should respond, but how.

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While some leading experts point to the fact that political and military leaders can lean on the existing matrix of international civilian and military laws to use as rules of engagement in the digital world, it can be argued that the battleground of tomorrow will be dramatically different. In other words, we have reached a tipping point where rules of engagement unique to cyberwarfare are needed. Here are five reasons why that time has come:

The United States and the other large international players are not the only ones with the skills, resources, technology and motivation to contend in the cyber arena. Countries around the world have taken large steps to begun to build their cyber warfare capabilities. According to Peter Singer, director of the Center for 21st-Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution, more than 100 nations now have a cybercommand or a special military unit assigned to fighting and winning wars in cyberspace.

Put simply, the global stage is nearly set for cyber-based conflict. If one occurs, it could be — as Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Kaplan noted in a 2016 speech at the University of North Carolina  — not a cat and mouse game, but “a cat and a cat game. If you’re ever seen two cats fighting…it’s a dangerous game to get into.” Without established rules, conflict (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from InfoSec Resources authored by Patrick Mallory. Read the original post at: