Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities

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National Academies Press, Oct 27, 2009 - Political Science - 390 pages
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The United States is increasingly dependent on information and information technology for both civilian and military purposes, as are many other nations. Although there is a substantial literature on the potential impact of a cyberattack on the societal infrastructure of the United States, little has been written about the use of cyberattack as an instrument of U.S. policy.

Cyberattacks--actions intended to damage adversary computer systems or networks--can be used for a variety of military purposes. But they also have application to certain missions of the intelligence community, such as covert action. They may be useful for certain domestic law enforcement purposes, and some analysts believe that they might be useful for certain private sector entities who are themselves under cyberattack. This report considers all of these applications from an integrated perspective that ties together technology, policy, legal, and ethical issues.

Focusing on the use of cyberattack as an instrument of U.S. national policy, Technology, Policy, Law and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities explores important characteristics of cyberattack. It describes the current international and domestic legal structure as it might apply to cyberattack, and considers analogies to other domains of conflict to develop relevant insights. Of special interest to the military, intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security communities, this report is also an essential point of departure for nongovernmental researchers interested in this rarely discussed topic.


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1 Overview Findings and Recommendations
Framing and Basic Technology
2 Technical and Operational Considerations in Cyberattack and Cyberexploitation
Mission and Institutional Perspectives
3 A Military Perspective on Cyberattack
4 An Intelligence Community Perspective on Cyberattack and Cyberexploitation
5 Perspectives on Cyberattack Outside National Security
8 Insights from Related Areas
9 Speculations on the Dynamics of Cyberconflict
10 Alternative Futures
Biographies of Committee Members and Staff
Meeting Participants and Other Contributors
Illustrative Criminal Cyberattacks
Views on the Use of Force in Cyberspace

6 Decision Making and Oversight
Intellectual Tools for Understanding and Thinking About Cyberattack
7 Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Cyberattack
Technical Vulnerabilities Targeted by Cyber Offensive Actions

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About the author (2009)

William A. Owens received his B.A. and M.A. from Southern Methodist University and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. Before coming to Columbia University in 1947, where he was Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus, he taught at a number of schools and colleges, including the Lamar County, Texas, public schools. Mr. Owens was born in Pin Hook, Texas, and the author of several books, novels, and nonfiction.

Kenneth W. Dam is the deputy secretary of the treasury and the Max Pam Professor of American and Foreign Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He served as executive director of the US Council on Economic Policy in the Nixon administration and as deputy secretary of state in the Reagan administration. He is author or coauthor of six books, including "Economic Policy beyond the Headlines," 2nd ed. (1998, with George P. Shultz) and "The Rules of the Game" (1982), both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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