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U.S. strategic cyber deterrence options

Jasper, S. (2018) U.S. strategic cyber deterrence options. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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The U.S. government appears incapable of creating an adequate strategy to alter the behavior of the wide variety of malicious actors seeking to inflict harm or damage through cyberspace. This thesis provides a systematic analysis of contemporary deterrence strategies and offers the U.S. the strategic option of active cyber defense designed for continuous cybered conflict. It examines the methods and motivations of the wide array of malicious actors operating in the cyber domain. The thesis explores how the theories of strategy and deterrence underpin the creation of strategic deterrence options and what role deterrence plays with respect to strategies, as a subset, a backup, an element of one or another strategic choice. It looks at what the government and industry are doing to convince malicious actors that their attacks will fail and that risk of consequences exists. The thesis finds that contemporary deterrence strategies of retaliation, denial and entanglement lack the conditions of capability, credibility, and communications that are necessary to change the behavior of malicious actors in cyberspace. This research offers a midrange theory of active cyber defense as a way to compensate for these failings through internal systemic resilience and tailored disruption capacities that both frustrate and punish the wide range of malicious actors regardless of origin or intentions. The thesis shows how active cyber defense is technically capable and legally viable as an alternative strategy in the U.S. to strengthen the deterrence of cyber attacks.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Heuser, B.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Politics, Economics & International Relations
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:79976
Date on Title Page:2017


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