Traditional Military Activities in Cyberspace: Preparing for 'Netwar'

28 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2013  

Paul Walker

U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps

Date Written: December 4, 2010


This article examines the domestic law concep of "traditional military activity" as applied in the cyberspace domain, examining the distinctions between "covert action" that must be reported to Congress and military activity that is excluded from such reporting requirements. The array of traditional military activities that may occur in the Internet and other information environments without triggering covert action reporting requirements is explored through the prism of a historical examination of two types of military activity that contribute to the accomplishment of strategic surprise: positioning of forces and deception operations. A review of the legislative history of the Covert Action Reporting Statute, 50 USC 413b, reveals clear boundaries that are then examined in light of the historical examples and applicable cyberspace analogies. The article concludes that the same policy concerns requiring aggressive oversight of covert action are mitigated by the multi-layered review process inherent in the war planning process for traditional military activities.

Keywords: TMA, traditional military activity, cyberspace, cyber attack, military, cyber, cyberspace operations

Suggested Citation

Walker, Paul, Traditional Military Activities in Cyberspace: Preparing for 'Netwar' (December 4, 2010). Florida Journal of International Law, Vol. 22, No. 3, 2010. Available at SSRN:

Paul Walker (Contact Author)

U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps ( email )

United States

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