Date of Submission

Spring 2014

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Political Studies

Project Advisor 1

Christopher McIntosh

Abstract/Artist's Statement

This article seeks to reconcile the support status of cyber power in the United States military with the seriousness of the cyber threat confronting the nation. It rejects the argument that cyber weapons are not useful and are not traditional “weapons” by drawing parallels between cyber power and military force in the physical domains, as well as revealing how some of the most prominent issues in cybersecurity are political and not technological in nature. The article proposes strategic culture as an alternative explanation for U.S. cyber power’s current status. By studying the case studies of American air and space power, the analysis arrives at four factors that characterize the U.S. military’s integration of new technologies: 1) the initial use of new technologies to provide support to the services, 2) the importance of public interest in driving or constraining integration, 3) the effect a national crisis can have on helping the military overcome constraints against integration, and 4) the influence of external conflict on the military’s integration of new technologies. These findings together constitute a model which attributes the current status of cyber power to a history of dependence, public ignorance and lack of concern, and the absence of a “Cyber Pearl Harbor.” Acknowledging this, a cyber attack or cyber war against the United States has the best chance of changing the current status of American cyber power.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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