Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Cyber and Space Weapons Are Making Nuclear Deterrence Trickier

If you can’t trust your networks or satellite communications in a crisis, “use-or-lose” scenarios get a lot closer.  Advances in cyberweapons and counter-space capabilities are creating new pressures on concepts of nuclear deterrence.  As “outlined in our recent report, there now exists a real and growing possibility of rapid and unintended escalation of any U.S.-Russia crisis or conflict,” these authors say.  (By James Miller, formerly Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for a New American Security.)

Information warfare excerpt:

Moscow’s alienation from the West has led it to adopt a considerably more confrontational tone than in previous years. In parallel, Russia has improved the capabilities and readiness of its military, and through snap exercises including nuclear deployments, it has attempted to demonstrate that it retains a potent military force capable of defending its interests and deterring the threat it perceives from the West. Russia has made clear that it regards the further expansion of Western institutions into its “near abroad” as highly provocative, and appears to be seeking to make this message credible through a more assertive rhetorical style, more aggressive military operations, economic coercion and inducements, and information operations in the Euro-Atlantic area.

The report gently touches on the Russian information warfare threat and cites two articles which give a very vague approach to countering Russian IW.

The report does not assess the overall threat, does not address the information ‘forces’ arrayed against the West, nor does it address how these threats, tools, and resources are being used and their effectiveness. It also does not address that we are incapable of quantitatively addressing the issue, we default to qualitative and subjective analysis.

Bottom line: good report to read to get an overall sense of the heightened tensions between the two countries, the new tactics and tools in use today, and allows a neophyte to become familiar with the general approaches to each issue. The report lacks teeth.


Full Report:


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