Nuclear deterrence and cyber warfare: Coexistence or competition?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Nuclear deterrence and cyber war seem almost antithetical in their respective intellectual pedigrees. Nuclear weapons are unique in their ability to create mass destruction in a short time. Information or “cyber” weapons, at least for the most part, aim at sowing confusion or mass disruption instead of widespread physical destruction. Nevertheless, there are some intersections between cyber and nuclear matters, and these have the potential to become troublesome for the future of nuclear deterrence. For example, cyber attacks might complicate the management of a nuclear crisis. As well, information attacks on command-control and communications systems might lead to a mistaken nuclear launch based on false warnings, to erroneous interpretations of data or to panic on account of feared information blackout. It is not inconceivable that future nuclear strike planning will include a preliminary wave of cyber strikes or at least a more protracted “preparation of the battlefield” by roaming through enemy networks to plant malware or map vulnerabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-208
Number of pages16
JournalDefense and Security Analysis
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017

Fingerprint

deterrence
warfare
coexistence
strike
nuclear weapon
weapon
sowing
communication system
control system
vulnerability
interpretation
planning
ability
management

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

@article{a8e1356db4ba4a01b893eb0e0aaa334d,
title = "Nuclear deterrence and cyber warfare: Coexistence or competition?",
abstract = "Nuclear deterrence and cyber war seem almost antithetical in their respective intellectual pedigrees. Nuclear weapons are unique in their ability to create mass destruction in a short time. Information or “cyber” weapons, at least for the most part, aim at sowing confusion or mass disruption instead of widespread physical destruction. Nevertheless, there are some intersections between cyber and nuclear matters, and these have the potential to become troublesome for the future of nuclear deterrence. For example, cyber attacks might complicate the management of a nuclear crisis. As well, information attacks on command-control and communications systems might lead to a mistaken nuclear launch based on false warnings, to erroneous interpretations of data or to panic on account of feared information blackout. It is not inconceivable that future nuclear strike planning will include a preliminary wave of cyber strikes or at least a more protracted “preparation of the battlefield” by roaming through enemy networks to plant malware or map vulnerabilities.",
author = "Stephen Cimbala",
year = "2017",
month = "7",
day = "3",
doi = "10.1080/14751798.2017.1351142",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "33",
pages = "193--208",
journal = "Defense and Security Analysis",
issn = "1475-1798",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "3",

}

Nuclear deterrence and cyber warfare : Coexistence or competition? / Cimbala, Stephen.

In: Defense and Security Analysis, Vol. 33, No. 3, 03.07.2017, p. 193-208.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Nuclear deterrence and cyber warfare

T2 - Coexistence or competition?

AU - Cimbala, Stephen

PY - 2017/7/3

Y1 - 2017/7/3

N2 - Nuclear deterrence and cyber war seem almost antithetical in their respective intellectual pedigrees. Nuclear weapons are unique in their ability to create mass destruction in a short time. Information or “cyber” weapons, at least for the most part, aim at sowing confusion or mass disruption instead of widespread physical destruction. Nevertheless, there are some intersections between cyber and nuclear matters, and these have the potential to become troublesome for the future of nuclear deterrence. For example, cyber attacks might complicate the management of a nuclear crisis. As well, information attacks on command-control and communications systems might lead to a mistaken nuclear launch based on false warnings, to erroneous interpretations of data or to panic on account of feared information blackout. It is not inconceivable that future nuclear strike planning will include a preliminary wave of cyber strikes or at least a more protracted “preparation of the battlefield” by roaming through enemy networks to plant malware or map vulnerabilities.

AB - Nuclear deterrence and cyber war seem almost antithetical in their respective intellectual pedigrees. Nuclear weapons are unique in their ability to create mass destruction in a short time. Information or “cyber” weapons, at least for the most part, aim at sowing confusion or mass disruption instead of widespread physical destruction. Nevertheless, there are some intersections between cyber and nuclear matters, and these have the potential to become troublesome for the future of nuclear deterrence. For example, cyber attacks might complicate the management of a nuclear crisis. As well, information attacks on command-control and communications systems might lead to a mistaken nuclear launch based on false warnings, to erroneous interpretations of data or to panic on account of feared information blackout. It is not inconceivable that future nuclear strike planning will include a preliminary wave of cyber strikes or at least a more protracted “preparation of the battlefield” by roaming through enemy networks to plant malware or map vulnerabilities.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85024364066&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85024364066&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/14751798.2017.1351142

DO - 10.1080/14751798.2017.1351142

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85024364066

VL - 33

SP - 193

EP - 208

JO - Defense and Security Analysis

JF - Defense and Security Analysis

SN - 1475-1798

IS - 3

ER -