Air University Press

Perspectives on Cyber Power

Cyber Power Papers provide original and accessible overviews of subjects about cyber power, conflict, and cooperation by practitioners and renowned scholars who are leaders in their fields. They provide venues for dialogue and study about cyber power and its relationships to national security, foreign relations, military operations, economic policy, and other strategic issues, and they are essential reading for senior military leaders, professional military education students, and interagency, academic, and private-sector partners. 

  • Air Force Cyber Law Primer

    Cyber law is a broad discipline that is constantly evolving and growing as technology and applicable law continue to develop. Attorneys and paralegals must inform themselves on the technical aspects of cyber operations to properly advise clients and identify legal issues—many of which will be without precedent. This primer seeks to expedite the rigorous process of learning the practice of cyber law.

    [Lt Col Royal A. Davis III, Jeffrey T. Biller, and Air Force Cyber Primer Team / 2022 / 154 pages / ISSN: 2831-5251 / AUP Code: CPP-9]

  • Cyber Deterrence Revisited

    Cyber Deterrence Revisited endeavors to disentangle the ongoing academic discussions regarding creating a deterrence theory applicable to cyberspace. It critically reflects on deterrence mechanism outcomes, shortfalls, and misconceptions and explains when cyber deterrence is and is not successful. The paper also outlines potential research avenues, policies, and access requirements that will help to ascertain the deterrence effects we so desperately crave to create in cyberspace.

    Until academics and war-game par­ticipants understand the realities of how militaries defend, fight, and win in cyberspace, cyber discussions—and to a larger degree, escalation dynamics—will remain deductive, reductive, and superficial. Nonetheless, the field of cy­ber deterrence is not a dead end. But progress in the field necessitates that researchers understand what effects we are currently able to create, what ef­fects we cannot yet create, and which ones we would have to create to deter adversaries in and through cyberspace. Only through access to military thinking on the art of cyber, continuous experimentation, expedient practical adaptation, and out-of-the-box thinking will academics and military tacti­cians be able to piece together the puzzle that binds tactical and operational actions to produce the deterrence effects that we so desperately crave to cre­ate in cyberspace. [Stefan Soesanto / 2022 / 49 pages / ISSN 2831-5251 / AU Press Code: CPP-8]

  • The Achievable Multinational Cyber Treaty: Strengthening Our Nation’s Critical Infrastructure

    Developing cyber norms and institutions has been problematic due to the competing interests of the major state actors in the multinational environment—especially among Russia, China, and the United States—concerning information freedom and access. The author establishes the genesis of this debate and argues that the United States should move beyond it to the issue of protecting critical infrastructure from cyber attack. Addressing the escalating threats to our nation’s infrastructure and networks, the author recommends pursuing an international agreement singularly focused on securing critical infrastructure combined with improving national regulatory and legislative measures for cyber defense. [2017 / 35 pages / ISBN 9781585662661 / CPP-3]

  • Social Media

    The inherent risks and vulnerabilities of the Internet and social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have cultivated a rich and ripe environment for foreign adversaries and criminals to cherry-pick personal information about Airmen and their missions for nefarious activities. FBI guidance encourages users to reduce their online footprint in cyberspace rather to proliferate it. This paper addresses some of the most common threats and vulnerabilities of the social media environment, the risks of using social media, and current Air Force social media guidance. It recommends revising Air Force social media guidance and outlines cyberspace best practices. An informed workforce can better protect the Air Force mission and reduce the risk of becoming a target of opportunity. [Lt Col Scott E. Solomon, USAF / 2017 / 51 pages / ISBN: 9781585662715 / AU Press Code: CPP-6]

  • Is Cyber Deterrence Possible?

    Deterrence in the cyber domain is drastically different and far more complicated than in the other military domains of air, land, sea, and space. Cyber weapons and offensive cyber techniques are relatively inexpensive and easily obtained or developed. The number of adversary groups capable of attacking US networks is large, and our ability to deter each group will vary based on their motives and levels of risk tolerance. An effective cyber deterrence strategy must be multilayered and use all instruments of US national power. This paper explores the difficulties of deterring unwanted cyber activities, sets some realistic expectations for a deterrence strategy, and offers proposals to help mitigate the problems. [2017 / 33 pages ISBN: 9781585662739 / AU Press Code: CPP-4]

  • Cyber Workforce Retention

    The US Air Force must develop strategies to effectively retain and sustainably build its workforce of 1B4 cyber Airmen. Doing so will be most critical in the next few years as the Air Force continues to increase its contribution to the nation’s cyber mission forces. This study overviews the current cybersecurity human capital environment and explores the evolution of this new breed of warrior and the plan to move this emerging career field from growth to future sustainment. Also examined are public-sector retention study and initiative findings and Department of Defense retention tools—primarily special and incentive pays—for their potential application in supporting cyber Airmen retention. The study concludes with recommendations for initiatives and focus areas to support not only retention of cyber Airmen but also growth and sustainability of this fledgling career field. [2016 / 69 pages / ISBN: 9781585662647 / AU Press Code: CPP-2]

  • Strategies for Resolving the Cyber Attribution Challenge

    Technical challenges are not a great hindrance to global cyber security cooperation; rather, a nation’s lack of cybersecurity action plans that combine technology, management procedures, organizational structures, law, and human competencies into national security strategies are. Strengthening international partnerships to secure the cyber domain will require understanding the technical, legal, and defense challenges faced by our international partners. Identifying the gaps in international cooperation and their socioeconomic and political bases will provide the knowledge required to support our partners’ cybersecurity and contribute to building a cyber environment less hospitable to misuse. It will also help US policy makers to determine the appropriate escalation of diplomatic and defensive responses to irresponsible countries in cyberspace. Further research and discussion will likely enable the timely development of the response framework for US sponsorship of sound global norms to guide global cybersecurity. This will also assist the US defense, diplomatic, and development communities in building consensus, leveraging resources to enhance global cybersecurity, and coordinating US global outreach to those countries most beset by cyber crime and conflict. [2013 / 107 pages / ISBN: 978-1-58566-226-5 / AU Press Code: P-93]

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