The Maturing of Global Cyber Affairs


By Kevin Coleman -- Defense Tech Cyberwarefare Correspondent

Actions, and inactions, of nations in cyberspace have the potential to impact all other countries connected to the Internet. Those factors combined with the global proliferation and use of cyber weapons has created an immediate need for formal diplomatic cyber relations efforts. These efforts are now being referred to as Cyber Statecraft.

Current day power projection includes cyber capabilities. The implications of this fact are being felt throughout the executive branch of government as well as in the diplomatic corps. Cyber Statecraft is a program that creates an international operational environment with predefined characteristics that represent a desired situation or state. It is defined as the art and science related to government, diplomacy, international law and management of international affairs in the hybrid cyber situational setting. It includes conducting state cyber affairs, management & measurement of cyber affairs and cyber statesmanship. This is a program approach to establishing an operational state that establishes a desired state or a state of advantage.

Perhaps the most critical aspect of Cyber Statecraft is cyber statesmanship. Not a new term, but one that has had limited public exposure up until this point. An effective cyber statesman represents his country in its dealings with other nations and be will be tasked with achieving his country’s national cyber objectives. Based on over a year of research and analysis and current cyber events, it is clear this position will be extremely challenging and demand continuous refinement of the individuals’ concepts, skills and knowledge of cyber capabilities of nations around the world.

FACT: In December 2010 the U.S. State Department created a new position responsible for coordinating cyber efforts.  From the QDR

“Establishing a Coordinator for Cyber Issues who will lead State’s engagement on cybersecurity and other cyber issues, including efforts to protect a critical part of diplomacy—the confidentiality of communications between and among governments.”

Note:      The above is an excerpt from the Cyber Commander’s eHandbook version 3.0

The Internet was founded on the core principals of openness and neutrality. These guiding principles discourages any restrictions on content, sites, platforms, equipment that may be attached, other methods of communication and the interference with it operation by any government.  But let’s face it, with the maturing of cyber space, the criticality of the capability it provides and its ever expanding transformational functionality have combined and reached a point where political intervention and coordination is inevitable. The only question is the magnitude of impact!


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