Putin’s Cyber OODA Loop is Tighter Than Yours
While hosting a delegation from France, Putin advised that to prevent cyber attacks, nations will have to establish international norms prohibiting such behavior.
“This is what I can say about cyberattacks or war of words in the press and other issues. Action always causes reaction. Always. If one does not want to get a reaction he does not like, rules for actions need to be set. When the humanity invented nuclear weapons, everyone realized how dangerous it is and agreed on rules, which were aimed at preventing a tragedy. It’s obvious that cyber now is a most important field affecting millions of people. Let’s agree on how we work in it.”
The action and reaction sentiment will resonate with disciples of Colonel John Boyd, but there are several interesting aspects of that one statement to unpack.
Putin Loves Cyber Operations
The Putin regime has fully adopted cyber operations as a component of international relations and an appropriate tool to use in “reaction” to other global measures like sanctions or regional interference. In fact, Putin quickly co-mingled the failed Iranian agreement and associated sanctions with the discussion by stating that:
“We never acknowledged any unilateral restrictions. One only needs to read the UN Charter to learn that unilateral sanctions are illegitimate, unlawful. That’s it. That was, is and will be our attitude.”
By linking the two together is Putin green-lighting Iran to wage cyber attacks against the U.S.? It is quite possible that is his intent which raises the stakes on 2/3 of the critical cyber risk issues for 2019.
Putin Views Cyber as Modern Day Nuclear Equivalent Threat
Putin is also quick to associate the impact of cyber operations with that of nuclear weapons. He’s not the first Russian leader to do so as 20 years ago Yeltsin stated that ““While maintaining our nuclear potential at the proper level, we need to devote more attention to developing the entire range of means of information warfare.”
This association speaks to the power Russia associates with cyber capabilities and given the Cold War arms race around nuclear weapons, it is safe to assume Russia is allocating significant resources towards developing cyber operations tools and multi-platform strategies for their use.
There are no Moscow Rules for Cyber
The infamous CIA Moscow Rules informally guided intelligence personnel in how to stay safe in the streets of espionage during the height of the Cold War. While Bob Gourley has proposed a Cyber version of the Moscow Rules, it is clear that cyber operations are still an emerging issue as countries push the boundaries of acceptable behavior, standards for attribution, and understanding the impact calculus of successful attacks. Whether Putin genuinely wants to establish norms for cyber behavior, he is clearly articulating that cyber attacks are a perfectly valid “reaction” in the international geopolitical arena.
Putin’s Cyber OODA Loop is Tighter Than Yours
On the action to reaction spectrum, Putin is clearly winning the cyber war and operating with a tighter cyber OODA Loop. Given the lack of norms, Putin is willing to explore the full spectrum of information warfare including using common technology platforms to run influence operations. Putin’s statements on cyber norms comes in the same week that former Director of National Intelligence ceded the U.S. 2016 presidential election to him by claiming that Russian cyber operations changed the outcome of the election in stating that “Of course, the Russian effort affected the outcome. Surprising even themselves, they swung the election to a Trump win.” If true, modest cyber attacks have successfully enabled the first “Trust War” and are undermining the foundation of democratic societies.
In the traditional OODA Loop domain of fighter pilot dogfights, Boyd was infamous for being able to out-OODA his opponents within 40 seconds and Putin is demonstrating a cyber agility that should concern even the most skeptical national security experts.
OODA Loop provides actionable intelligence, analysis, and insight on global security, technology, and business issues. Our members are global leaders, technologists, and intelligence and security professionals looking to inform their decision making process to understand and navigate global risks and opportunities.
You can chose to be an OODA Loop Subscriber or an OODA Network Member. Subscribers get access to all site content, while Members get all site content plus additional Member benefits such as participation in our Monthly meetings, exclusive OODA Unlocked Discounts, discounted training and conference attendance, job opportunities, our Weekly Research Report, and other great benefits. Join Here.
Black Swans and Gray Rhinos
Now more than ever, organizations need to apply rigorous thought to business risks and opportunities. In doing so it is useful to understand the concepts embodied in the terms Black Swan and Gray Rhino. See: Potential Future Opportunities, Risks and Mitigation Strategies in the Age of Continuous Crisis
Cybersecurity Sensemaking: Strategic intelligence to inform your decisionmaking
The OODA leadership and analysts have decades of experience in understanding and mitigating cybersecurity threats and apply this real world practitioner knowledge in our research and reporting. This page on the site is a repository of the best of our actionable research as well as a news stream of our daily reporting on cybersecurity threats and mitigation measures. See: Cybersecurity Sensemaking
Corporate Sensemaking: Establishing an Intelligent Enterprise
OODA’s leadership and analysts have decades of direct experience helping organizations improve their ability to make sense of their current environment and assess the best courses of action for success going forward. This includes helping establish competitive intelligence and corporate intelligence capabilities. Our special series on the Intelligent Enterprise highlights research and reports that can accelerate any organization along their journey to optimized intelligence. See: Corporate Sensemaking
Artificial Intelligence Sensemaking: Take advantage of this mega trend for competitive advantage
This page serves as a dynamic resource for OODA Network members looking for Artificial Intelligence information to drive their decision-making process. This includes a special guide for executives seeking to make the most of AI in their enterprise. See: Artificial Intelligence Sensemaking
COVID-19 Sensemaking: What is next for business and governments
From the very beginning of the pandemic we have focused on research on what may come next and what to do about it today. This section of the site captures the best of our reporting plus daily daily intelligence as well as pointers to reputable information from other sites. See: OODA COVID-19 Sensemaking Page.
Space Sensemaking: What does your business need to know now
A dynamic resource for OODA Network members looking for insights into the current and future developments in Space, including a special executive’s guide to space. See: Space Sensemaking
The OODAcast Video and Podcast Series
In 2020, we launched the OODAcast video and podcast series designed to provide you with insightful analysis and intelligence to inform your decision making process. We do this through a series of expert interviews and topical videos highlighting global technologies such as cybersecurity, AI, quantum computing along with discussions on global risk and opportunity issues. See: The OODAcast