Military Cyber Operations: A Primer
American Foreign Policy Council Defense Technology Program Brief, No. 14, January 2016
11 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2016
Date Written: January 30, 2016
Military Cyber Operations (MCO) is an umbrella term for the acquisition and use of cyber capabilities at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of conflict. MCO is not the same as “cyber war.” Cyber war, as usually articulated, focuses on two (or more) combatants exclusively deploying malicious cyber capabilities against the other side’s systems, resulting in death and destruction, in order to achieve a set of explicit political goals. This formulation, however, ignores both existing U.S. military doctrine and the manner in which modern forces actually deploy such capabilities. In fact, there are potentially good reasons to think that cyber war, when properly defined, won’t actually take place or may constitute an ineffective policy tool.
Keywords: milware, cyber security, military operations, cyberwar, offensive cyber operations,
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