Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NPR: Extending the Law of War to Cyberspace

I heard an interesting story this morning on NPR regarding the international law of war and the growing debate about how cyberwar fits into the existing framework.

This report was a real eye-opener for me. Nations around the world are building up a capacity to conduct cyberwar, which can have extreme consequences in the physical world. What is the threshold of damage that a cyber operation has to cause in order for it to be considered an act of war? Another problem discussed was the concept of "proportionality," meaning under the rule of law, any use of force must be reasonable to achieve the military objectives. The United States has extensive experience with this concept in the physical world, but this sort of analysis is much harder in the cyber domain. With the high levels of connectivity between military, government, and civilian networks, any cyber operation has the potential of causing more damage than the mission planners expected.

This is a two part report, which concludes tomorrow. I'll be tuning in.

Link to Part 1 of the report.
Link to Part 2 of the report.

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