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The National Security Administration campus, where the U.S. Cyber Command is located, in Fort Meade, Md. The National Security Administration campus, where the U.S. Cyber Command is located, in Fort Meade, Md., June 6, 2013 (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

Why Diplomacy Matters as Much as Defense When It Comes to Cybersecurity

Friday, Sept. 18, 2020

The United States gets a lot right about its strategic approach to cyberspace, but the steady stream of reporting on the relentless wave of adversarial cyber campaigns waged by Russia, China and Iran against the U.S. show that it also still gets plenty of things wrong. Some in Washington may be comforted by the idea that the Pentagon will act as a “backstop” against foreign cyber campaigns aimed at influencing the upcoming elections. The fact that a militarized response seems to be the only arrow in America’s quiver, though, is seriously troubling.

More than half a century after the Pentagon’s launch of the internet birthed the notion of cyberwar, one lesson is still going unlearned: that diplomacy and civilian leadership on cybersecurity matter as much as military responses when it comes to cyber defense and deterrence. Cyber diplomacy is, ultimately, a strategic necessity. ...

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