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Adapting To The Cyber Domain: Comparing US And UK Institutional, Legal, And Policy Innovations

by Robert Chesneyvia Aegis Paper Series
Tuesday, May 25, 2021

This article explores the origins and evolution of the institutional, policy, and legal frameworks that define the defensive and offensive aspects of UK and US cyber strategies. There is a strong degree of convergence, particularly from a defense perspective, but there are also important variations, especially in the degree to which the countries’ most capable operators—the National Security Agency and the Government Communications Headquarters—are integrated into non-intelligence activities.

“Defend Forward” And Sovereignty

by Jack Goldsmith, Alex Loomisvia Aegis Paper Series
Thursday, April 29, 2021

This essay argues that the discrete rules articulated in the commentary accompanying Rule 4 of the Tallinn Manual 2.0 regarding state sovereignty in cyberspace do not reflect customary international law. It considers the validity of the Rule 4 commentary primarily in the context of the United States’ “defend forward” strategy for disrupting cyber threats.

Cyberattack Attribution As Empowerment And Constraint

by Kristen E. Eichensehrvia Aegis Paper Series
Friday, January 15, 2021

When a state seeks to respond to a cyberattack, must it first attribute the attack to the perpetrator responsible? This essay explores the international and US domestic laws governing cyberattack attribution and argues that attribution to another state can bolster the US executive branch’s authority to act pursuant to its Defend Forward policy and, conversely, that the absence of attribution can place the executive on less certain legal footing.

U.S. Cyber Command's First Decade

by Michael Warnervia Lawfare
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) turned ten years old in 2020. It is a unique institution—a military command that operates globally in real time against determined and capable adversaries and yet never fires a shot or launches a missile. The Command comprises an amalgam of military, intelligence, and information technology capabilities that came together into its present shape more by design than by fortuitous chance. That design, however, was itself a work in progress.

US Cyber Command’s First Decade

by Michael Warnervia Aegis Paper Series
Thursday, December 3, 2020

United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) has implemented the theory that advanced states must operate in cyberspace at scale using military entities. The command’s growth and progress followed debates over that vision and its refinement through offensive and defensive operations. USCYBERCOM actively influenced these debates and by 2020 had become an integral element in national defense, helping shape events and force design in both friendly and adversary nations.

Cyberattacks And The Constitution

by Matthew C. Waxmanvia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Contrary to popular view, cyberattacks alone are rarely exercises of constitutional war powers—and they might never be. They are often instead best understood as exercises of other powers pertaining to nonwar military, foreign affairs, intelligence, and foreign commerce, for example. Although this more fine-grained, fact-specific conception of cyberattacks leaves room for broad executive leeway in some contexts, it also contains a strong constitutional basis for legislative regulation of cyber operations.

Due Diligence And The U.S. Defend Forward Cyber Strategy

by Eric Talbot Jensen, Sean Wattsvia Lawfare
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

As its name implies, the 2018 US Department of Defense Defend Forward strategy is principally reactive. The strategy assumes that the United States will continue to suffer harm from competitors and malign actors through cyberspace. Accordingly, it outlines US reactions in order to preempt threats, defeat ongoing harm, and deter future harm. 

Due Diligence And The US Defend Forward Cyber Strategy

by Eric Talbot Jensen, Sean Wattsvia Aegis Paper Series
Thursday, October 15, 2020

This paper analyzes the international law principle of due diligence and its potential role in the United States’ emerging Defend Forward cyber strategy. The authors begin with a brief review of due diligence and recount recent efforts to apply due diligence in cyberspace. They then review past US experience with due diligence and conclude that renewed recognition of this principle might complement the Defend Forward strategy in cyberspace, if appropriately tailored.

Covert Deception, Strategic Fraud, And The Rule Of Prohibited Intervention

by Gary P. Cornvia Lawfare
Thursday, September 24, 2020

If information is power, then the corruption of information is the erosion, if not the outright usurpation, of power. This is especially true in the information age, where developments in the technological structure and global interconnectedness of information and telecommunications infrastructure have enabled states to engage in malicious influence campaigns at an unprecedented scope, scale, depth, and speed. 

Covert Deception, Strategic Fraud, And The Rule Of Prohibited Intervention

by Gary P. Cornvia Aegis Paper Series
Friday, September 18, 2020

The Digital Revolution and the evolution of the information environment have ushered in an unprecedented era of information conflict, with revisionist states using hostile, disinformation-based influence campaigns to subvert democratic governance and the rule of law. International law has struggled to keep pace. This essay argues for an interpretation of international law that would consider strategic, covert deception as a form of prohibited coercion in violation of the rule of nonintervention.

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Aegis explores legal and policy issues at the intersection of technology and national security.  Published in partnership with the Lawfare Blog, it features long-form essays of the Hoover Institution National Security, Technology and Law Working Group (the Aegis Paper Series), examines major new books in the field, and carries podcasts and videos or the working group’s events in Washington and Stanford.