What Is Cyberwar? The defense community can’t figure out how to define it.August 16, 2011 at 9:28 am | Posted in Cyber Law | Leave a comment
by Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz with the blog faculty
By Jeffrey Carr
This article arises from Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, the New America Foundation, and Slate.
What constitutes an act of cyberwar?
Before we get to that, there’s a clue in the spelling of the word: cyberwar instead of cyber war. The U.S. Defense Department has determined that cyber is a fifth domain after air, land, sea, and space. We wouldn’t call the World War II battle for domain of the skies an “airwar,” or the showdowns over North African terrain “landwar.” Yet somehow cyberwar has become the preferred term. The oddity of the convention reflects the fact that cyberwar is not quite “war,” not quite “cyber,” yet it is so palpably real that most developed and developing nations are standing up their own cyber commands to engage in it.
The problem, of course, is that no one can agree on what constitutes an act of cyberwar. There is as yet no international treaty in place that establishes a legal definition for an act of cyber aggression. More…