Easier Said than Done: Legal Reviews of Cyber Weapons

24 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2014

See all articles by Gary Brown

Gary Brown

College of Information and Cyberspace, National Defense University

Andrew Metcalf

USMC

Date Written: February 12, 2014

Abstract

Allegations that Stuxnet was part of a U.S. planned and led covert cyber operation and assertions that a nation-state used a cyber-attack in support of national security objectives reinvigorated the attention of cyber-law commentators. Military attorneys, however, must translate deeply theoretical discussions into concrete legal advice. This article concludes that treating all cyber techniques as weapons is impractical. Rather, an assessment focusing on how a capability will be used in context, especially of the primary purpose of the capability, is more effective and consonant with international law. This approach will more clearly delineate cyber attacks and permit a separate discussion of the great majority of cyber events — those that fall below the level of attack.

Keywords: Cyber, Cyberwarfare, Weapons Reviews, IHL, LOAC

Suggested Citation

Brown, Gary and Metcalf, Andrew, Easier Said than Done: Legal Reviews of Cyber Weapons (February 12, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2400530 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2400530

Gary Brown (Contact Author)

College of Information and Cyberspace, National Defense University ( email )

300 5th Ave
Ft McNair
Washington, DC 20319
United States

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