Cyberwarfare: Law & Policy Proposals for U.S. & Global Governance
Virginia Lawyer, Vol. 58, p. 28, February 2010
5 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2009 Last revised: 5 Apr 2015
Date Written: November 18, 2010
Cybersecurity is the newest and most unique national security issue of the 21st century. The most critical aspect of this issue is the notion of cyberwarfare, which is the use of computer technologies as both defensive and offensive weapons in international relations.
Until now, there has been no national debate within the United States over the concept of cyberwarfare; neither its meaning nor the international laws governing this concept have been discussed at any length, to say nothing of the domestic rules regarding it. President Obama’s reliance on a resurrected notion of the “just war doctrine,” as enunciated in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, heightens the need for legal clarity. Recent developments concerning WikiLeaks and Stuxnet malware further heightens generally the debate over legal rules.
The debate over cyberwarfare is only now emerging in the United States, the United Kingdom, and in the foreign policy dialogue between the United States, the Russian Federation, and other nations. “[M]uch of the debate on policies related to cyber war is happening behind closed doors.” National and international understanding and strategy need to be developed, and architecture must be implemented, both nationally and internationally. In December 2009 the United States entered into talks with the Russian Federation on cybersecurity and cyberwarfare. Since 2010 these are now being conducted in the United Nations.
In this paper, I address the concept of cyberwarfare in the context of both domestic and international affairs from a legal-political perspective. First, I examine recent government and private reports on cybersecurity and cyberwarfare. Second, I outline what I consider the major issue that confronts the United States and the global system as they struggle to address the dangers of cyberwarfare. Third, I conclude by proposing a method to begin structuring a comprehensive security strategy, taking into consideration the many domestic and global stakeholders.
Keywords: cyberwarfare, cybersecurity, digital warfare, cyberattack, cyberspace, international law, foreign policy, cyberwar
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