The Best Strategy for Cyber-Conflict May Not Be a Cyber-Strategy
“One way to solve wicked problems is to reduce their complexity by foregoing a comprehensive solution. In other words, policymakers must find a more effective way to disaggregate the problem of cyber conflict. Rather than treating cyber conflict as a unitary strategic problem in which a one-size-fits-all policy will achieve U.S. objectives, policymakers should recognize that malicious cyber activity is a means to an end for each adversary. For example, China’s malicious cyber activity stems from its unique perception of international relations and its centuries-long tradition of employing a strategy of asymmetry, for which cyber warfare is merely the latest tool. China seeks to become a first-tier economic and industrial power, and it views cyberespionage as a tactic to help them compete against more advanced economies. Moreover, the Chinese military views cyberspace as the new strategic high ground and hopes that stealing military secrets will offset the U.S. military’s technological and operational advantages.