Cybersecurity · cyberwar · Information operations · Information Warfare

CRS: Defense Primer: Cyberspace Operations


The Department of Defense (DOD) defines cyberspace as a global domain within the information environment consisting of the interdependent network of information technology infrastructures and resident data, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers. The DOD Information Network (DODIN) is a global infrastructure carrying DOD, national security, and related intelligence community information and intelligence.

Cyberspace operations are composed of the military, intelligence, and ordinary business operations of the DOD in and through cyberspace. Military cyberspace operations use cyberspace capabilities to create effects that support operations across the physical domains and cyberspace. Cyberspace operations differ from information operations (IO), which are specifically concerned with the use of information-related capabilities during military operations to affect the decision making of adversaries while protecting our own. IO may use cyberspace as a medium, but it may also employ capabilities from the physical domains.

Cyberspace operations are categorized into the following:

Offensive Cyberspace Operations, intended to project power by the application of force in and through cyberspace. These operations are authorized like operations in the physical domains.

Defensive Cyberspace Operations, to defend DOD or other friendly cyberspace. These are both passive and active defense operations and are conducted inside and outside of DODIN.

DODIN Operations, to design, build, configure, secure, operate, maintain, and sustain DOD communications systems and networks across the entire DODIN.

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