The Cyber College leverages faculty academic expertise, student operational experience and guidance from the operational community to produce actionable research to solve AF, DOD, & national problems.

Award Winning Research

  The Cyber Microbiome and the Cyber Meta-reality
Dr. Joshua Sipper, AFCC

Dr. Joshua Sipper’s paper titled "The Cyber Microbiome and the Cyber Meta-reality" was awarded a "Best Paper Award" at the IARIA Cyber 2020 Conference! For the awarded papers, a digital award will be issued to each author. The author will also receive an invitation to submit an extended article version to one of the IARIA Journals.

 

Here is the link to the page: https://www.iaria.org/conferences2020/AwardsCYBER20.html

Conference Presentation: https://youtu.be/1tSOyx0X26w

Conference Slides: https://www.iaria.org/conferences2020/filesCYBER20/CYBER_80012.pdf

 

Another Hot Topic from Dr. Sipper, Special Issue of JFQ (100th issue):

It’s Not Just About Cyber Anymore: Multidisciplinary Cyber Education and Training Under the New Information Warfare Paradigm > National Defense University Press > News Article View (ndu.edu)

   

The Other Space Race: Eisenhower and the Quest for Aerospace Security
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Winner of the Air Force Historical Foundation’s “Best Air Power Book of the Year” Award. 

Early steps into new or emerging domains matters, and decisions about competition and security cast long shadows on policy and strategy.  In the 1950s, with the space domain becoming accessible, US decisionmakers contemplated the most effective ways to employ it.  President Dwight Eisenhower’s prioritization of reconnaissance programs helped gel the concept of space-as-sanctuary, in order to protect the secret Corona reconnaissance satellite program.  Air Force leaders, aware of Eisenhower’s “New Look” investments in nuclear-armed airpower, promoted ambitious projects like the Dynamic Soarer space glider, in a bid to extend existing airpower practice into the “aerospace” realm.  The Air Force Chief of Staff coined the term “aerospace” specifically to marry the new realm to the air domain, in justification of these ideas.  Administration officials constrained the project, however, in order to preclude an early weaponization of the space domain. The Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957 precipitated change in the political climate, and space travel became part of the United States’ national discourse. John F. Kennedy’s new administration touted energetic action, including in reference to space and missiles. The Dyna-Soar program would, nonetheless, eventually be sidelined and scuttled under Kennedy and later Lyndon Johnson, as the new administration sought to make good on its campaign trail calls for space accomplishments through the promotion and acceleration of the NASA Apollo concept for a human lunar landing. Awareness of security implications (and political calculations) shaped the crafting of space policy and the support of specific space projects from the outset of new domain.

Publications

Distinguishing Cyberattacks by Difficulty

Distinguishing Cyberattacks by Difficulty
Dr. Melissa A. Thomas, AFCC

Some discussions of cyberattacks paint them broadly as low cost and widely available, failing to distinguish cyberattacks by difficulty. However, as the literature has long recognized, cyberattacks are not all alike. The most sophisticated attacks require greater capabilities, including noncyber capabilities, that are commanded by only by a handful of states. Assessment of the difficulty of cyberattacks therefore requires a broader view of a cyberattack than a view focused on gaining and maintaining unauthorized access to a computer. The proposed Cyber Effects model of a cyberattack looks to the ultimate effect sought by the attacker, which may be focused only on gaining access to a device or may seek access to produce a cascade of external effects. This model can then be used as a conceptual
model to organize factors that bear on attack difficulty for assessment.

The Cyber Meta-Reality: Beyond the Metaverse

The Cyber Meta-Reality: Beyond the Metaverse
Dr. Joshua Sipper, AFCC

As one begins to explore the many complexities of quantum computing, nanotechnology, and AI, it becomes clear that there is an underlying reality within cyberspace that is comprised of other realities and that these realities all have their own biomes, ecosystems, and microbiomes built on information, energy, and human creative reality and potential. It is clear that there has not been much research on this , especially the piece dealing with the cyber microbiome, which looks at the part of the iceberg that is “under the surface” and makes up most of cyberspace, much like how our human microbiome is many orders of magnitude larger than our human cells. The microbiome is extremely important from the perspective of how to treat diseases in humans, especially bacterial infections. The same is true for how to treat “diseases” in the cyber meta-reality. Thus, knowing all we can about the cyber meta-reality, biome, and microbiome is absolutely necessary in ensuring this world’s growth, care, and flourishing.

Weaponizing Cyberspace

Weaponizing Cyberspace: Inside Russia’s Hostile Activities
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

The Russian regime's struggle for internal control drives multifaceted actions in cyberspace that do not stop at national borders. Cybercrime, technical hacking, and disinformation are complementary tools to preserve national power internally while projecting effects onto myriad neighbors and rivals. Russia's modus operandi in disinformation campaigning is specifically to find and exploit existing sore spots in other countries. In the U.S., this often means inflaming political tensions among people on the far left and far right. Russia's actions have taken different forms, including the sophisticated surveillance and sabotage of critical infrastructure, the ransoming of data by criminal groups, and a welter of often mutually contradictory disinformation messages that pollute online discourse within and beyond Russia. Whether deployed to contribute to hybrid war or to psychological fracture and disillusionment in targeted societies, the threat is real and must be understood and effectively addressed.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael. Weaponizing Cyberspace: Inside Russia’s Hostile Activities. PSI, 2022.

Can't Sail Away From Cyber Attacks: "Sea-hacking" From Land
Chris C. Demchak and Michael L. Thomas

Today’s maritime shipping traffic remains remarkably vulnerable to land-based cyber- attacks due to corporate avoidance of expensive upgrades and maintenance, a lack of skill across the maritime shipping industry, the handle of critical maritime chokepoints as ambush locations, and an engrained tendency to view the sea as buffering shipping from the land-based threats. When the huge container ship, Ever Given – barely three years old – ran aground in the Suez Canal in March 2021, cyber-attacks on navigation were suspected. Though the suspicions were not proven, the effects of the weeklong blockage were global, creating a security warning to westernized national defense professionals. The lesson from the incident is clear – the maritime industry is full of chokepoints that can be economically damaging if exploited. The event also offered a widely covered demonstration event for adversaries seeking future leverage in disruption campaigns. Another demonstration occurred when the winning team at August’s 2021 DefCon “Hack the Sea” event hacked replica maritime control systems without knowledge of ship operational technology. This essay argues that both occurrences are the latest to enhance recognition of means and opportunity by motivated adversaries. Attackers weaponizing commercial shipping for cybered global disruption need only pick a time and place. A national response is critical to change commercial shipping’s cyber defense incentives.

“Can’t Sail Away from Cyber Attacks: ‘Sea-Hacking’ From Land,” War on the Rocks, Oct 15, 2021, https://warontherocks.com/2021/10/cant-sail-away-from-cyber-attacks-sea-hacking-from-land/

Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance and Electromagnetic Warfare Methods for Cyber Signature Production: A Conceptual Model
Dr. Joshua Sipper, AFCC

The purpose of this paper is to offer a methodology using the already mature signature production capabilities offered within the intelligence and electromagnetic warfare fields to develop a similar capability for cyber operators. Not only will the tools and TTPs assist in target and signature production, but they will also make attribution much easier by capturing the common location, profile, and parametric data necessary to identify and to verify adversary identities. In the information related capability (IRC) disciplines of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and electromagnetic warfare (EW), signature production based on parametric data, adversary tactics, techniques, procedures (TTPs), and methodologies have long been the operational answer to the attribution and targeting malaise. Cyber has historically been considered an information related capability to intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and electromagnetic warfare and the recent strategic shift to combine these information-related capabilities (along with information operations) into a super-strategic construct offers further connectivity between all of these information related capabilities through TTPs, philosophies, and analytical prowess. Here, the author will further develop how to potentially construct cyber signatures for adversary attribution, tracking, and targeting using intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance analysis and techniques, electromagnetic warfare methods and technology, and will explore how these can be integrated with current cyber methods and analytical scaffolds. Additionally, a conceptual cyber signature capability model will be presented.

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance and Electromagnetic Warfare Methods for Cyber Signature Production: A Conceptual Model”. Dr. Josh Sipper, AFCC, Journal of Information Warfare, 20 (3), 108-126.

The Hidden Costs of Cybercirme

Time for a Counter-AI Strategy
  Dr. Melissa A. Thomas, AFCC

The development of artificial intelligence technologies has been mistakenly characterized as a “winner-take-all" race. Being in the lead means that there is no need to be concerned about those who are behind. But AI is not unidimensional; it is a heterogeneous collection of approaches and applications. This means those who are ahead in some applications are likely behind in others. The United States needs a “counter-AI” strategy.

Thomas, M. A. 2020. “Time for a Counter-AI Strategy.” Strategic Studies Quarterly 14 (1): 3-8.

Myth and Realities of Cyber Warfare

Myths and Realities of Cyber Warfare: Conflict in the Digital Realm
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Winner of the Air Force Association’s Gill Robb Wilson Award for arts and letters.

"Cyber warfare" evokes different images to different people. This book unpacks and explores some of the key mythologies about cyber warfare, including its presumptively instantaneous speed, that it makes distance and location irrelevant, and that victims of cyber attacks deserve blame for not defending adequately against attacks. Several widespread beliefs about cyber weapons need modification, nuance, and contextualization to more meaningfully shed light about how cyber domain hostility impacts conflict in the modern world. The book also explores the role of social media and the consequences of the digital realm being a battlespace in 21st-century conflicts. The book also considers how trends in computing and cyber conflict impact security affairs as well as the practicality of people's relationships with institutions and trends, ranging from democracy to the Internet of Things.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael. Myths and Realities of Cyber Warfare: Conflict in the Digital Realm. PSI, 2020.

Hypergaming for Cyber

Hypergaming for Cyber: Strategy for Gaming a Wicked Problem
Dr. Joshua Sipper, AFCC

Cyber as a domain and battlespace coincides with the defined attributes of a “wicked problem” with complexity and inter-domain interactions to spare. Since its elevation to domain status, cyber has continued to defy many attempts to explain its reach, importance, and fundamental definition. Corresponding to these intricacies, cyber also presents many interlaced attributes with other information related capabilities (IRCs), namely electromagnetic warfare (EW), information operations (IO), and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), within an information warfare (IW) construct that serves to add to its multifaceted nature. In this cyber analysis, the concept of hypergaming will be defined and discussed in reference to its potential as a way to examine cyber as a discipline and domain, and to explore how hypergaming can address cyber’s “wicked” nature from the perspectives of decision making, modeling, operational research (OR), IO, and finally IW. Finally, a cyber-centric hypergame model (CHM) will be presented.

Sipper, J. (2020) “Hypergaming for Cyber: Strategy for Gaming a Wicked Problem,” Cyber Security Information Analysis Center Journal, 25 (3), 45-57. 

The Hidden Costs of Cybercirme

Warbot 1.0: AI Goes to War
  by Brian Michelson - Reviewed by Dr. Melissa A. Thomas, AFCC

In this science fiction novel, a near-future conflict between the US and China is the setting for a vivid, detailed tactical depiction of the impact of artificial intelligence and robotics on warfare

Thomas, M.A. 2020. “Warbot 1.0: AI Goes to War.” Book review. Strategic Studies Quarterly 15 (1): 135-136. 

Cyber Undergound

Cyber Underground: Overcoming Obstacles to Cyber in Subterranean Warfare
Dr. Joshua Sipper, AFCC

The possibility of the subterranean operational area emerging as a new war-fighting domain has some validity. While there are both proponents and detractors concerning domain establishment, one thing is certain: subterranean warfare exists and is growing more prevalent. With terrorist and drug smuggling organizations globally using tunnels, mines, and other subterranean infrastructure such as subway tunnels and sewers, the need to effectively engage these power structures where they operate is growing rapidly. However, the nature of the subterranean space is such that communication, wireless transmission, and other cyber-dependent systems are in many cases effectively squelched, leaving military forces figuratively and literally in the dark.

Sipper, J. (2020) “Cyber Underground: Overcoming Obstacles to Cyber in Subterranean Warfare,” Wild Blue Yonder 2 (4), 38-51. 

Conflict in the 21st Century

Conflict in the 21st Century: The Impact of Cyber, Social Media, and Technology
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

This reference work examines how sophisticated cyber-attacks and innovative use of social media have changed conflict in the digital realm, while new military technologies such as drones and robotic weaponry continue to have an impact on modern warfare.  It provides important information about cyber weapons that effectively strike through cyberspace to weaken and even cripple its target.  It demonstrates how social media is employed in conflicts in innovative ways, including communication, propaganda, and psychological warfare.  It explores potential technology avenues related to ensuring the continued military advantages of the United States.  It also identifies and describes nuclear, precision, and other technological capabilities that have historically been the preserve of superpowers but have been newly acquired by various states.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael (ed.). Conflict in the 21st Century: The Impact of Cyber, Social Media, and Technology. ABC-CLIO, 2019.

Understanding International Conflict Management

United Nations Peacekeeping in International Conflict Management
Dr. Volker Franke and Dr. Karen Guttieri, AFCC

This new textbook introduces key mechanisms and issues in international conflict management and engages students with a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to mitigating, managing, and transforming international conflicts.

The volume identifies key historical events and international agreements that have shaped and defined the field of international conflict management, as well as key dilemmas facing the field at this juncture. The first section provides an overview of key mechanisms for international conflict management, such as negotiation, mediation, nonviolent resistance, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, transitional justice, and reconciliation. The second section tackles important cross-cutting themes, such as technology, religion, the economy, refugees and migration, and the role of civil society, examining how these issues contribute to international conflicts and how they can be leveraged to help address such conflicts. Each chapter includes a brief historical overview of the evolution of the issue or mechanism, identifies key theoretical and practical debates, and includes case studies, discussion questions, website links, and suggested further reading for further study and engagement. By providing a mixture of theory and practical examples, this textbook provides students with the necessary background to navigate this interdisciplinary field.

This volume will be of great interest to students of international conflict management, conflict resolution, peace studies, and international relations in general.

Franke, V. and Guttieri, K., “United Nations Peacekeeping in International Conflict Management” in Understanding International Conflict Management, Maia Carter Hallward and Charity Butcher, eds. Routledge: 2019. 

The Hidden Costs of Cybercrime

The Hidden Costs of Cybercrime
  Jessica “Zhanna” Malekos Smith, J.D., AFCC

Since 2018, we estimated that the cost of global cybercrime reached over $1 trillion.

We estimated the monetary loss from cybercrime at approximately $945 billion. Added to this was global spending on cybersecurity, which was expected to exceed $145 billion in 2020. Today, this is $1 trillion dollar drag on the global economy.

This is our fourth report on the cost of cybercrime. Our reports surveyed publicly available information on national losses, and in a few cases, we used data from not-for-attribution interviews with cybersecurity officials. Our 2018 report found that cybercrime cost the global economy more than $600 billion. Our new estimate suggests a more than 50% increase in two years.

Paths of Innovation in Warfare

Paths of Innovation in Warfare from the Twelfth Century to the Present
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Innovation shapes wars, and twelve studies by former faculty members of West Point’s United States Military Academy examine specific cases of past and present military innovation. The complex, competitive, and dynamic environment that defines war drives combatants to seek solutions to potentially lethal problems. As some solutions prove effective, gain traction, and win emulation, they follow a path of innovation. The chapters address a broad array of innovations, including in weapon technology, strategy, research and development philosophy, organization of the military instrument, and leveraging maps for strategic goals. Geographically, the examples in this volume span four continents and the Mediterranean Sea, and chronologically they proceed from the twelfth century to the twenty first. Collectively, the studies point to the interconnected value of pursuing constructive solutions to challenges, networking interdisciplinary forms of knowledge, appropriately balancing expectations and capabilities, and understanding an innovation as a journey rather than as an episodic event.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael (ed.). Paths of Innovation in Warfare from the Twelfth Century to the Present. Lexington, 2018.

When Cyberattacks Are War

When Cyberattacks Are War
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Considering whether interstate cyberattacks are acts of war in fact implicitly requires consideration of how the nation should respond to cyberattacks.  Policymakers continually must decide whether and how to respond to events that are most accurately understood as acts of war.  Responses will have to be based on policy and strategy calculations.  Whether they occurred on European fields that Clausewitz witnessed in the 19th century or in the five domains of land, sea, air, space, and cyber today and into the future.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael.  “When Cyberattacks Are War,” ABC-Clio Academic Journal Roundtable, October 2018.

The Challenge of Security

The Challenge of Security: West Point's Defenses and Digital Age Implications, 1775-1777
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Although the cyber realm is a comparatively new environment, with professionals typically setting the origins in the mid-19th century with the communications network established in support of the Anglo-French-Piedmontese force in the Crimean War, many of the imperatives of security and defense in the physical realm offer significant continuity as well as areas for profitable comparison. The historical vantage point empowers, through the use of relevant analogy and studious research and analysis. A cyber-conscious study of the early progress toward fortification of the Hudson River during the American Revolutionary War illuminates themes about the primary security role played by defensive constructions: to guarantee time that permits an active and coherent response against an adversary. It also demonstrates the vital role played by leaders who recognize security challenges and the need for expertise that can translate policymakers’ support and resources into an effective security system. This essay uses the period from 1775-1777 to highlight these issues, setting the stage for the development of expert-designed fortress construction beginning in the spring of 1778 (to be examined in the author’s next contribution to the CDR).

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael.  “The Challenge of Security:  West Point’s Defenses and Digital Age Implications, 1775-1777,” Cyber Defense Review, vol. 2 no 1 (Spring 2017), pp 155-65. 

Why Mpt a Space Force? Image Why Not a Space Force? Cautions of Organizational Re-design
Col Kevin L. Parker, USAF
 

The granting of independence to the U.S. Air Force in 1947 and the establishment of U.S. Special Operations Command in 1987 share striking similarities with the Space Force debate in terms of the general security environment and the specific re-organizing proposals. In each case, unique mission sets were differentiated at the highest levels — that is, they were insulated from outside control and elevated within the organization. Space Force could be the next success story to follow this pattern, but organizational design theory and historical experience provide a few cautions regarding growth of headquarters staffs, eased access to senior leaders, resistance to integration, and unmanageable span of control. The benefits of a Space Force, either as its own department or as more modestly proposed by the president’s directive, may well outweigh these cautions, but they deserve careful consideration and attention to potential mitigating strategies.

Making the Point

Making the Point: West Point's Defenses and Digital Age Implications, 1778-1781
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Despite obvious distinctions, parallels exist between 18th century era fortification and the purposes, processes, and implications of pursuing security in an artificial cyber realm of the 21st century. The Revolutionary War era fortification of the Hudson River bottleneck focused upon the West Point area between 1778 and 1781. Differing professional perspectives and factors such as available resources led to disagreement about the defensive concept, and Thaddeus Kosciuszko’s construction of layered defenses strengthened the US position in the region during the latter phases of the war. British failure in a belated overland raid, demonstrating an inability to “brute” the new defenses, led to British interest in leveraging an insider threat (Benedict Arnold), but then as now, insider threats could not automatically guarantee success.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael.  “Making the Point:  West Point’s Defenses and Digital Age Implications, 1778-1781,” Cyber Defense Review, vol. 2 no. 1 (Summer 2017), pp. 141-51.

United States Military Officers

United Sates Military Officers
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

A robust bibliographical survey of the literature about US military officers.  The materials identified highlight biographies of particular key and notable officers as well as studies that engage with US officership at large.  Sources also engage with the services in existence at the time of publication (Navy, Marines, Army, and Air Force).

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael. “United States Military Officers,” Oxford Bibliography of Military History.  Lead author, with co-author Dr. Adrienne Harrison.  January 21, 2016. 

Deception and Fake News Image

Fake News and Information Warfare: An Examination of the Political and Psychological Processes from the Digital Sphere to the Real World
Dr. Karen Guttieri, AFCC

Fake news—false information passed off as factual—is an effective weapon in the information age. For instance, the Russian government perfected techniques used in its 2007 Estonian and 2008 Georgian cyber campaigns to support Donald Trump’s successful candidacy in the 2016 United States presidential election. In this chapter, the authors examine fake news and Russia’s cyberwarfare efforts across time as case studies of information warfare. The chapter identifies key terms and reviews extant political science and psychological research related to obtaining an understanding of psychological cyber warfare (“psywar”) through the proliferation of fake news. Specifically, the authors suggest that there are social, contextual, and individual factors that contribute to the spread and influence of fake news and review these factors in this chapter.

Guadagno, R.E. and Guttieri, K., “Fake News and Information Warfare,” Handbook of Research on Deception, Fake News, and Misinformation Online, Innocent E. Chiluwa and Sergei A. Samoilenko, eds. June 2019: 167-191.

Thinking Differently about Air Bases: Evolving with the Evolving Strategic Environment   Thinking Differently about Air Bases: Evolving with the Strategic Environment
  Col Kevin L. Parker, USAF
 

This 2016 statement from Miranda A. A. Ballentine, the former assistant secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Energy, remains true today and is a call to action for the Air Force, DOD, and Congress. “The Air Force is currently maintaining installations that are too big, too old, and too expensive for current and future needs.” The USAF has performed the same core missions from its bases since 1947. How the service performs those missions has changed drastically since then. According to the Air Force Future Operating Concept, this evolution will continue. Despite these changes, the Air Force’s bases will remain essential because “the foundation of Air Force readiness and lethality is an integrated network of resilient installations.” However, changing factors in the strategic environment demand that the service changes the way it operates, maintains, modifies, and protects its permanent air bases.

Mathematization Not Measurement Image Designing Cybersecurity into Defense Systems: An Information Economics Approach
Dr. Chad Dacus and Dr. Panayotis Yannakogeorgos, AFCC
 

Hackers have compromised the designs of numerous major US weapon systems. Safeguarding mission-critical systems requires effective network security and secure firmware and software. To achieve this, the US Defense Department should carefully screen contractors based on their past cybersecurity prowess and provide incentives for them to produce and maintain secure systems.

Dacus, C. and P. Yannakogeorgos. "Designing Cybersecurity into Defense Systems: An Information Economics Approach." IEEE Security and Privacy 14, no. 3 (May 2016): 44-51.

Revolutions in Tehnology

Revolutions in Technology: A consideration of the Role of Iterative Improvement in Warfare
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Part of the dialog and debate about cyber security and warfare concerns the question about whether cyber exploits become obsolete in the course of their first use. While the question centers on whether vulnerabilities can be patched immediately following their initial identification, the issue also carries implications regarding the iterative improvement of technologies. Actual battle experience, the presence of functional feedback loops, and dedication to improvement pave the way for iterative advances to keep pace ahead of changing challenges and environments. It is this iterative cycle that sometimes leads to rapid cumulative advances and effectively “revolutionary” effects, and this is actually part of a pattern that can be identified through historical study. In this case study, the revolutions of the chambers in Samuel Colt’s progressively improving firearms of the 1830s and 1840s provide a window on the connection between iteration and revolution, a question that deserves continued attention and consideration when turning to security and warfare in the digital realm.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael.  "Revolutions in Technology: A Consideration of the Role of Iterative Improvement in Warfare," Lead author, with co-author MAJ Nathan Jennings.  Cyber Defense Review.  February 1, 2016.

Mathematization Not Measurement Image   Mathematization, Not Measurement: A Critique of Stevens’ Scales of Measurement
  Dr. Melissa A. Thomas, AFCC
 

In the early 1900s, physics was the archetypical science and measurement was equated with mathematization to real numbers. To enable the use of mathematics to draw empirical conclusions about psychological data, which was often ordinal, Stevens redefined measurement as “the assignment of numerals to objects and events according to a rule.” He defined four scales of measurement (nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio) and set out criteria for the permissible statistical tests to be used with each. Stevens' scales of measurement are still widely used in data analysis in the social sciences. They were revolutionary but flawed, leading to ongoing debate about the permissibility of the use of different statistical tests on different scales of data. Stevens implicitly assumed measurement involved mapping to real numbers. Rather than rely on Stevens' scales, researchers should demonstrate the mathematical properties of their data and map to analogous number sets, making claims regarding mathematization explicit, defending them with evidence, and using only those operations that are defined for that set.

Thomas, M. A. 2020. “Mathematization, Not Measurement.” Journal of Methods and Measurement in the Social Sciences 10 (2): 76-94. 

Cyber Realpolitik Image Cyber Realpolitik
James Dever, M.A, J.D, AFCC
 

State-on-state conflict governed by generally clear rules of engagement was the predominant mode of warfare in the mid-twentieth century. Now, almost two decades into the post-9/11 world, state and non-state actors, transnational terrorists, and cyber operators thrive in twilight zones of domestic and international law. The past few years carry signs of troubles to come. Transnational terrorism, struck down in certain areas, but emboldened by twenty years of muddled U.S. and Allied counterterrorism policy, threatens again to break out of its Middle Eastern base. China is stealing U.S. trade secrets at a rate beyond alarming and forcing American companies to work inside China or forfeit profitable trade deals. Russia, a shadow of what it once was during the height of the Soviet Union, now seeks to project strength through information warfare against the West.

Guttieri, Governance, Innovation, and Information and Communications Technology for Civil-Military Interactions

Governance, Innovation, and Information and Communications Technology for Civil-Military Interactions
Dr. Karen Guttieri, AFCC

Civilian and military participants in relief and stability operations rely upon Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to collect, analyze, store, display, and share information that is critical for these civil-military interactions. This article investigates ICT innovation in these operations over time. As researchers in the sociology of technology school might predict, ICT innovation for relief and stability operations emerges in a distributed fashion, within clusters of specialty expertise that migrate across interconnected technology systems and across humanitarian and military activities. Major events such as natural disasters have punctuated the development of ICT for civil-military interactions, often driving community learning and coherence. Among the many stakeholders in the United States, the federal government in particular has played an important role in shaping the ICT ecosystem through policies and engagements. Government policies and changes in the field of action in the 1990s created imperatives for the US military in particular to collaborate with civilian agencies on ICT innovation. Civil-military information sharing gaps persist today due, in part, to institutional factors. 

Guttieri K. “Governance, Innovation, and Information and Communications Technology for Civil-Military Interactions.” Stability: International Journal of Security and Development. 2014;3(1):Art. 6. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/sta.dc 

Conceptual Framework Image

A Conceptual Framework for Defense Acquisition Decision Makers: Giving the Schedule its Due
Dr. Chad L. Dacus, AFCC

 

Conceptual models based on economic and operations research principles can yield valuable insight into defense acquisition decisions. This article focuses on models that place varying degrees of emphasis on each objective of the defense acquisition system: cost (low cost), schedule (short cycle times), and performance (high system performance). The most appealing conceptual model is chosen, which the authors posit that, if adopted, would lead to shifts in priorities that could facilitate better outcomes, as empirical results. Finally, several policy prescriptions implied by the model are briefly explored.

Peace Innovation Lab Logo

Peace Technology: Scope, Scale and Cautions
Quihuis, Margarita, Nelson, Mark, and Guttieri, Karen

 

Peace technology, as we have defined it at the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab, is fundamentally mediating technology—it acts as an intervening agent, augmenting our ability to engage positively with others. Peace technology, as we experience it today, contains four sub-components working together: 1. Sensors that can measure human engagement behavior with ever-greater precision (such as cameras, microphones & GPS) between any two social entities across difference boundaries such as gender, income, ethnicity, age, nationality, etc. 2. Communications technology including: cellular radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi capabilities in phones and laptops, as well as landline, fiber optic, and satellite networks. 3. Computation, particularly distributed and cloud-based computing. The above three components enable detection and early-warning systems. 4. The addition of actuators, which can include humans or devices, allows us to trigger and coordinate action in response.4. These four component technologies are now so inexpensive and ubiquitous that your smartphone contains many of each.

Quihuis, Margarita, Nelson, Mark, and Guttieri, Karen  “Peace Technology: Scope, Scale and Cautions,” Building Peace: A Forum for Peace and Security in the 21st Century, 2015. 

Revolutions in Tehnology

Perspectives on Training Cyber Warriors
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Cadet education at West Point had by the early 2010s begun to seriously engage with issues supporting the education of cyber warriors.  Not only had USG-produced journals’ information helped build the landscape of accessible defense-focused literature in the field, but cadet senior projects research had also come to include studies treating with questions relating to cyber warfare.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael. “Perspectives on Training Cyber Warriors.”  in Cyber War:  A Reference Handbook.  pp. 116-20.  ed. PJ Springer, ABC-Clio.  February 2015.

Dacus and Hagel, A Conceptual Model for Defense Acquisition: Giving the Schedule its Due

A conceptual Model for Defense Acquisition: Giving the Schedule its Due
Dacus, C. and Hagel, S.

 

Conceptual models based on economic and operations research principles can yield valuable insight into defense acquisition decisions. This article focuses on models that place varying degrees of emphasis on each objective of the defense acquisition system: cost (low cost), schedule (short cycle times), and performance (high system performance). The most appealing conceptual model is chosen, which the authors posit that, if adopted, would lead to shifts in priorities that could facilitate better outcomes, as empirical results suggest. Finally, several policy prescriptions implied by the model are briefly explored.

Dacus, C. and S. Hagel. "A Conceptual Model for Defense Acquisition: Giving the Schedule its Due." Defense Acquisition Research Journal 21, no. 1 (January 2014): 486-504. 


The AF Cyber College is excited to launch its Cyber Case Studies Series. The vision for our collection is to offer educators with materials for classroom teaching of various cyber topics related to national defense—policy, law, strategy, and practice. Whether in professional military education, civilian university courses, or informal lunch-and-learns, these case studies will engage students with interesting dilemmas and active learning to discover and reinforce key concepts relevant to competing in the cyberspace domain. Each case study prompt (for students) is posted below. Extensive teaching notes (for instructors) are available upon request. Cyber College is also interested in external authors of case studies who wish to contribute to the series. Send inquiries to AWC.CyberCollege.Org@us.af.mil.

A prompt or pop-up case is a shorter piece that identifies a story, an image, a film or another “found” instance to prompt classroom discussion and analysis.

 

Borderless Data in a World of Borders

Dr. Melissa A. Thomas, AFCC

 

Air University | Air Force Cyber College

CASE: P01-2105R0

 

For Teaching Notes Contact:

AWC.CyberCollege.Org@us.af.mil

   

 Fly, Patch, and Don't Lose

 

Fly, Patch, and Don't Lose

Kevin L. Parker, AFCC

 

Air University | Air Force Cyber College

CASE: F01-2107R0

 

Teaching Notes

   

 WIZARD SPIDER: Lethally Poisonous Ransomware

 

 

WIZARD SPIDER: Lethally Poisonous Ransomware

Joshua A. Sipper, AFCC

 

Air University | Air Force Cyber College

CASE: F02-2109R0

 

Teaching Notes

 

   
Driving Artificial Intelligence

Driving Artificial Intelligence

Dr. Jim Chen, National Defense University

 

Air University | Air Force Cyber College

CASE: P02-2109R0

 

Teaching Notes

   
Hacking the Vaccine

Hacking the Vaccine

Dr. Chad Dacus, AFCC

 

Air University | Air Force Cyber College

CASE: P03-2109R0

 

Teaching Notes


America is faced with a national emergency in cyberspace. Threat actors utilize weaknesses in information systems upon which modern societies rely on for economic prosperity and military superiority as tools. As we move from an Industrial Age world to a Digital Age world, educating all Airmen on understanding the operational and strategic implications how cyberspace impacts military mission and national security is critical.

Creating a culture of cybersecurity and mission assurance poses a great challenge for the AF, DOD and the nation. This guide is an effort to inform the AF as a whole on the broader implications of cyberspace and electronic warfare within the AF core missions. Currently, there exists a gap in understanding the fundamentals of cyberspace as it relates to military missions and broader strategic goals contributes to difficulties in understanding tactical and operational-level impacts to AF core functions, and results in a reduced capacity for effective strategic thinking and planning in cyberspace. This guide offers a consolidated resource to educate Airmen to deal with cyberspace issues during the operational and strategic planning and decision-making process.

This guide is an unclassified resource on concepts and principles of cyberspace operations that reflects a snapshot of expertise from thinkers and experts who are on the leading edge of shape the nation's thinking about cyberpower.

To enter the Cyber Power Portal click the link below:

Cyber Power Portal


Research

The Cyber College leverages faculty academic expertise, student operational experience and guidance from the operational community to produce actionable research to solve AF, DOD, & national problems.

Award Winning Research

  The Cyber Microbiome and the Cyber Meta-reality
Dr. Joshua Sipper, AFCC

Dr. Joshua Sipper’s paper titled "The Cyber Microbiome and the Cyber Meta-reality" was awarded a "Best Paper Award" at the IARIA Cyber 2020 Conference! For the awarded papers, a digital award will be issued to each author. The author will also receive an invitation to submit an extended article version to one of the IARIA Journals.

 

Here is the link to the page: https://www.iaria.org/conferences2020/AwardsCYBER20.html

Conference Presentation: https://youtu.be/1tSOyx0X26w

Conference Slides: https://www.iaria.org/conferences2020/filesCYBER20/CYBER_80012.pdf

 

Another Hot Topic from Dr. Sipper, Special Issue of JFQ (100th issue):

It’s Not Just About Cyber Anymore: Multidisciplinary Cyber Education and Training Under the New Information Warfare Paradigm > National Defense University Press > News Article View (ndu.edu)

   

The Other Space Race: Eisenhower and the Quest for Aerospace Security
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Winner of the Air Force Historical Foundation’s “Best Air Power Book of the Year” Award. 

Early steps into new or emerging domains matters, and decisions about competition and security cast long shadows on policy and strategy.  In the 1950s, with the space domain becoming accessible, US decisionmakers contemplated the most effective ways to employ it.  President Dwight Eisenhower’s prioritization of reconnaissance programs helped gel the concept of space-as-sanctuary, in order to protect the secret Corona reconnaissance satellite program.  Air Force leaders, aware of Eisenhower’s “New Look” investments in nuclear-armed airpower, promoted ambitious projects like the Dynamic Soarer space glider, in a bid to extend existing airpower practice into the “aerospace” realm.  The Air Force Chief of Staff coined the term “aerospace” specifically to marry the new realm to the air domain, in justification of these ideas.  Administration officials constrained the project, however, in order to preclude an early weaponization of the space domain. The Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957 precipitated change in the political climate, and space travel became part of the United States’ national discourse. John F. Kennedy’s new administration touted energetic action, including in reference to space and missiles. The Dyna-Soar program would, nonetheless, eventually be sidelined and scuttled under Kennedy and later Lyndon Johnson, as the new administration sought to make good on its campaign trail calls for space accomplishments through the promotion and acceleration of the NASA Apollo concept for a human lunar landing. Awareness of security implications (and political calculations) shaped the crafting of space policy and the support of specific space projects from the outset of new domain.

Publications

Distinguishing Cyberattacks by Difficulty

Distinguishing Cyberattacks by Difficulty
Dr. Melissa A. Thomas, AFCC

Some discussions of cyberattacks paint them broadly as low cost and widely available, failing to distinguish cyberattacks by difficulty. However, as the literature has long recognized, cyberattacks are not all alike. The most sophisticated attacks require greater capabilities, including noncyber capabilities, that are commanded by only by a handful of states. Assessment of the difficulty of cyberattacks therefore requires a broader view of a cyberattack than a view focused on gaining and maintaining unauthorized access to a computer. The proposed Cyber Effects model of a cyberattack looks to the ultimate effect sought by the attacker, which may be focused only on gaining access to a device or may seek access to produce a cascade of external effects. This model can then be used as a conceptual
model to organize factors that bear on attack difficulty for assessment.

The Cyber Meta-Reality: Beyond the Metaverse

The Cyber Meta-Reality: Beyond the Metaverse
Dr. Joshua Sipper, AFCC

As one begins to explore the many complexities of quantum computing, nanotechnology, and AI, it becomes clear that there is an underlying reality within cyberspace that is comprised of other realities and that these realities all have their own biomes, ecosystems, and microbiomes built on information, energy, and human creative reality and potential. It is clear that there has not been much research on this , especially the piece dealing with the cyber microbiome, which looks at the part of the iceberg that is “under the surface” and makes up most of cyberspace, much like how our human microbiome is many orders of magnitude larger than our human cells. The microbiome is extremely important from the perspective of how to treat diseases in humans, especially bacterial infections. The same is true for how to treat “diseases” in the cyber meta-reality. Thus, knowing all we can about the cyber meta-reality, biome, and microbiome is absolutely necessary in ensuring this world’s growth, care, and flourishing.

Weaponizing Cyberspace

Weaponizing Cyberspace: Inside Russia’s Hostile Activities
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

The Russian regime's struggle for internal control drives multifaceted actions in cyberspace that do not stop at national borders. Cybercrime, technical hacking, and disinformation are complementary tools to preserve national power internally while projecting effects onto myriad neighbors and rivals. Russia's modus operandi in disinformation campaigning is specifically to find and exploit existing sore spots in other countries. In the U.S., this often means inflaming political tensions among people on the far left and far right. Russia's actions have taken different forms, including the sophisticated surveillance and sabotage of critical infrastructure, the ransoming of data by criminal groups, and a welter of often mutually contradictory disinformation messages that pollute online discourse within and beyond Russia. Whether deployed to contribute to hybrid war or to psychological fracture and disillusionment in targeted societies, the threat is real and must be understood and effectively addressed.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael. Weaponizing Cyberspace: Inside Russia’s Hostile Activities. PSI, 2022.

Can't Sail Away From Cyber Attacks: "Sea-hacking" From Land
Chris C. Demchak and Michael L. Thomas

Today’s maritime shipping traffic remains remarkably vulnerable to land-based cyber- attacks due to corporate avoidance of expensive upgrades and maintenance, a lack of skill across the maritime shipping industry, the handle of critical maritime chokepoints as ambush locations, and an engrained tendency to view the sea as buffering shipping from the land-based threats. When the huge container ship, Ever Given – barely three years old – ran aground in the Suez Canal in March 2021, cyber-attacks on navigation were suspected. Though the suspicions were not proven, the effects of the weeklong blockage were global, creating a security warning to westernized national defense professionals. The lesson from the incident is clear – the maritime industry is full of chokepoints that can be economically damaging if exploited. The event also offered a widely covered demonstration event for adversaries seeking future leverage in disruption campaigns. Another demonstration occurred when the winning team at August’s 2021 DefCon “Hack the Sea” event hacked replica maritime control systems without knowledge of ship operational technology. This essay argues that both occurrences are the latest to enhance recognition of means and opportunity by motivated adversaries. Attackers weaponizing commercial shipping for cybered global disruption need only pick a time and place. A national response is critical to change commercial shipping’s cyber defense incentives.

“Can’t Sail Away from Cyber Attacks: ‘Sea-Hacking’ From Land,” War on the Rocks, Oct 15, 2021, https://warontherocks.com/2021/10/cant-sail-away-from-cyber-attacks-sea-hacking-from-land/

Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance and Electromagnetic Warfare Methods for Cyber Signature Production: A Conceptual Model
Dr. Joshua Sipper, AFCC

The purpose of this paper is to offer a methodology using the already mature signature production capabilities offered within the intelligence and electromagnetic warfare fields to develop a similar capability for cyber operators. Not only will the tools and TTPs assist in target and signature production, but they will also make attribution much easier by capturing the common location, profile, and parametric data necessary to identify and to verify adversary identities. In the information related capability (IRC) disciplines of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and electromagnetic warfare (EW), signature production based on parametric data, adversary tactics, techniques, procedures (TTPs), and methodologies have long been the operational answer to the attribution and targeting malaise. Cyber has historically been considered an information related capability to intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and electromagnetic warfare and the recent strategic shift to combine these information-related capabilities (along with information operations) into a super-strategic construct offers further connectivity between all of these information related capabilities through TTPs, philosophies, and analytical prowess. Here, the author will further develop how to potentially construct cyber signatures for adversary attribution, tracking, and targeting using intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance analysis and techniques, electromagnetic warfare methods and technology, and will explore how these can be integrated with current cyber methods and analytical scaffolds. Additionally, a conceptual cyber signature capability model will be presented.

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance and Electromagnetic Warfare Methods for Cyber Signature Production: A Conceptual Model”. Dr. Josh Sipper, AFCC, Journal of Information Warfare, 20 (3), 108-126.

The Hidden Costs of Cybercirme

Time for a Counter-AI Strategy
  Dr. Melissa A. Thomas, AFCC

The development of artificial intelligence technologies has been mistakenly characterized as a “winner-take-all" race. Being in the lead means that there is no need to be concerned about those who are behind. But AI is not unidimensional; it is a heterogeneous collection of approaches and applications. This means those who are ahead in some applications are likely behind in others. The United States needs a “counter-AI” strategy.

Thomas, M. A. 2020. “Time for a Counter-AI Strategy.” Strategic Studies Quarterly 14 (1): 3-8.

Myth and Realities of Cyber Warfare

Myths and Realities of Cyber Warfare: Conflict in the Digital Realm
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Winner of the Air Force Association’s Gill Robb Wilson Award for arts and letters.

"Cyber warfare" evokes different images to different people. This book unpacks and explores some of the key mythologies about cyber warfare, including its presumptively instantaneous speed, that it makes distance and location irrelevant, and that victims of cyber attacks deserve blame for not defending adequately against attacks. Several widespread beliefs about cyber weapons need modification, nuance, and contextualization to more meaningfully shed light about how cyber domain hostility impacts conflict in the modern world. The book also explores the role of social media and the consequences of the digital realm being a battlespace in 21st-century conflicts. The book also considers how trends in computing and cyber conflict impact security affairs as well as the practicality of people's relationships with institutions and trends, ranging from democracy to the Internet of Things.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael. Myths and Realities of Cyber Warfare: Conflict in the Digital Realm. PSI, 2020.

Hypergaming for Cyber

Hypergaming for Cyber: Strategy for Gaming a Wicked Problem
Dr. Joshua Sipper, AFCC

Cyber as a domain and battlespace coincides with the defined attributes of a “wicked problem” with complexity and inter-domain interactions to spare. Since its elevation to domain status, cyber has continued to defy many attempts to explain its reach, importance, and fundamental definition. Corresponding to these intricacies, cyber also presents many interlaced attributes with other information related capabilities (IRCs), namely electromagnetic warfare (EW), information operations (IO), and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), within an information warfare (IW) construct that serves to add to its multifaceted nature. In this cyber analysis, the concept of hypergaming will be defined and discussed in reference to its potential as a way to examine cyber as a discipline and domain, and to explore how hypergaming can address cyber’s “wicked” nature from the perspectives of decision making, modeling, operational research (OR), IO, and finally IW. Finally, a cyber-centric hypergame model (CHM) will be presented.

Sipper, J. (2020) “Hypergaming for Cyber: Strategy for Gaming a Wicked Problem,” Cyber Security Information Analysis Center Journal, 25 (3), 45-57. 

The Hidden Costs of Cybercirme

Warbot 1.0: AI Goes to War
  by Brian Michelson - Reviewed by Dr. Melissa A. Thomas, AFCC

In this science fiction novel, a near-future conflict between the US and China is the setting for a vivid, detailed tactical depiction of the impact of artificial intelligence and robotics on warfare

Thomas, M.A. 2020. “Warbot 1.0: AI Goes to War.” Book review. Strategic Studies Quarterly 15 (1): 135-136. 

Cyber Undergound

Cyber Underground: Overcoming Obstacles to Cyber in Subterranean Warfare
Dr. Joshua Sipper, AFCC

The possibility of the subterranean operational area emerging as a new war-fighting domain has some validity. While there are both proponents and detractors concerning domain establishment, one thing is certain: subterranean warfare exists and is growing more prevalent. With terrorist and drug smuggling organizations globally using tunnels, mines, and other subterranean infrastructure such as subway tunnels and sewers, the need to effectively engage these power structures where they operate is growing rapidly. However, the nature of the subterranean space is such that communication, wireless transmission, and other cyber-dependent systems are in many cases effectively squelched, leaving military forces figuratively and literally in the dark.

Sipper, J. (2020) “Cyber Underground: Overcoming Obstacles to Cyber in Subterranean Warfare,” Wild Blue Yonder 2 (4), 38-51. 

Conflict in the 21st Century

Conflict in the 21st Century: The Impact of Cyber, Social Media, and Technology
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

This reference work examines how sophisticated cyber-attacks and innovative use of social media have changed conflict in the digital realm, while new military technologies such as drones and robotic weaponry continue to have an impact on modern warfare.  It provides important information about cyber weapons that effectively strike through cyberspace to weaken and even cripple its target.  It demonstrates how social media is employed in conflicts in innovative ways, including communication, propaganda, and psychological warfare.  It explores potential technology avenues related to ensuring the continued military advantages of the United States.  It also identifies and describes nuclear, precision, and other technological capabilities that have historically been the preserve of superpowers but have been newly acquired by various states.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael (ed.). Conflict in the 21st Century: The Impact of Cyber, Social Media, and Technology. ABC-CLIO, 2019.

Understanding International Conflict Management

United Nations Peacekeeping in International Conflict Management
Dr. Volker Franke and Dr. Karen Guttieri, AFCC

This new textbook introduces key mechanisms and issues in international conflict management and engages students with a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to mitigating, managing, and transforming international conflicts.

The volume identifies key historical events and international agreements that have shaped and defined the field of international conflict management, as well as key dilemmas facing the field at this juncture. The first section provides an overview of key mechanisms for international conflict management, such as negotiation, mediation, nonviolent resistance, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, transitional justice, and reconciliation. The second section tackles important cross-cutting themes, such as technology, religion, the economy, refugees and migration, and the role of civil society, examining how these issues contribute to international conflicts and how they can be leveraged to help address such conflicts. Each chapter includes a brief historical overview of the evolution of the issue or mechanism, identifies key theoretical and practical debates, and includes case studies, discussion questions, website links, and suggested further reading for further study and engagement. By providing a mixture of theory and practical examples, this textbook provides students with the necessary background to navigate this interdisciplinary field.

This volume will be of great interest to students of international conflict management, conflict resolution, peace studies, and international relations in general.

Franke, V. and Guttieri, K., “United Nations Peacekeeping in International Conflict Management” in Understanding International Conflict Management, Maia Carter Hallward and Charity Butcher, eds. Routledge: 2019. 

The Hidden Costs of Cybercrime

The Hidden Costs of Cybercrime
  Jessica “Zhanna” Malekos Smith, J.D., AFCC

Since 2018, we estimated that the cost of global cybercrime reached over $1 trillion.

We estimated the monetary loss from cybercrime at approximately $945 billion. Added to this was global spending on cybersecurity, which was expected to exceed $145 billion in 2020. Today, this is $1 trillion dollar drag on the global economy.

This is our fourth report on the cost of cybercrime. Our reports surveyed publicly available information on national losses, and in a few cases, we used data from not-for-attribution interviews with cybersecurity officials. Our 2018 report found that cybercrime cost the global economy more than $600 billion. Our new estimate suggests a more than 50% increase in two years.

Paths of Innovation in Warfare

Paths of Innovation in Warfare from the Twelfth Century to the Present
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Innovation shapes wars, and twelve studies by former faculty members of West Point’s United States Military Academy examine specific cases of past and present military innovation. The complex, competitive, and dynamic environment that defines war drives combatants to seek solutions to potentially lethal problems. As some solutions prove effective, gain traction, and win emulation, they follow a path of innovation. The chapters address a broad array of innovations, including in weapon technology, strategy, research and development philosophy, organization of the military instrument, and leveraging maps for strategic goals. Geographically, the examples in this volume span four continents and the Mediterranean Sea, and chronologically they proceed from the twelfth century to the twenty first. Collectively, the studies point to the interconnected value of pursuing constructive solutions to challenges, networking interdisciplinary forms of knowledge, appropriately balancing expectations and capabilities, and understanding an innovation as a journey rather than as an episodic event.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael (ed.). Paths of Innovation in Warfare from the Twelfth Century to the Present. Lexington, 2018.

When Cyberattacks Are War

When Cyberattacks Are War
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Considering whether interstate cyberattacks are acts of war in fact implicitly requires consideration of how the nation should respond to cyberattacks.  Policymakers continually must decide whether and how to respond to events that are most accurately understood as acts of war.  Responses will have to be based on policy and strategy calculations.  Whether they occurred on European fields that Clausewitz witnessed in the 19th century or in the five domains of land, sea, air, space, and cyber today and into the future.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael.  “When Cyberattacks Are War,” ABC-Clio Academic Journal Roundtable, October 2018.

The Challenge of Security

The Challenge of Security: West Point's Defenses and Digital Age Implications, 1775-1777
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Although the cyber realm is a comparatively new environment, with professionals typically setting the origins in the mid-19th century with the communications network established in support of the Anglo-French-Piedmontese force in the Crimean War, many of the imperatives of security and defense in the physical realm offer significant continuity as well as areas for profitable comparison. The historical vantage point empowers, through the use of relevant analogy and studious research and analysis. A cyber-conscious study of the early progress toward fortification of the Hudson River during the American Revolutionary War illuminates themes about the primary security role played by defensive constructions: to guarantee time that permits an active and coherent response against an adversary. It also demonstrates the vital role played by leaders who recognize security challenges and the need for expertise that can translate policymakers’ support and resources into an effective security system. This essay uses the period from 1775-1777 to highlight these issues, setting the stage for the development of expert-designed fortress construction beginning in the spring of 1778 (to be examined in the author’s next contribution to the CDR).

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael.  “The Challenge of Security:  West Point’s Defenses and Digital Age Implications, 1775-1777,” Cyber Defense Review, vol. 2 no 1 (Spring 2017), pp 155-65. 

Why Mpt a Space Force? Image Why Not a Space Force? Cautions of Organizational Re-design
Col Kevin L. Parker, USAF
 

The granting of independence to the U.S. Air Force in 1947 and the establishment of U.S. Special Operations Command in 1987 share striking similarities with the Space Force debate in terms of the general security environment and the specific re-organizing proposals. In each case, unique mission sets were differentiated at the highest levels — that is, they were insulated from outside control and elevated within the organization. Space Force could be the next success story to follow this pattern, but organizational design theory and historical experience provide a few cautions regarding growth of headquarters staffs, eased access to senior leaders, resistance to integration, and unmanageable span of control. The benefits of a Space Force, either as its own department or as more modestly proposed by the president’s directive, may well outweigh these cautions, but they deserve careful consideration and attention to potential mitigating strategies.

Making the Point

Making the Point: West Point's Defenses and Digital Age Implications, 1778-1781
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Despite obvious distinctions, parallels exist between 18th century era fortification and the purposes, processes, and implications of pursuing security in an artificial cyber realm of the 21st century. The Revolutionary War era fortification of the Hudson River bottleneck focused upon the West Point area between 1778 and 1781. Differing professional perspectives and factors such as available resources led to disagreement about the defensive concept, and Thaddeus Kosciuszko’s construction of layered defenses strengthened the US position in the region during the latter phases of the war. British failure in a belated overland raid, demonstrating an inability to “brute” the new defenses, led to British interest in leveraging an insider threat (Benedict Arnold), but then as now, insider threats could not automatically guarantee success.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael.  “Making the Point:  West Point’s Defenses and Digital Age Implications, 1778-1781,” Cyber Defense Review, vol. 2 no. 1 (Summer 2017), pp. 141-51.

United States Military Officers

United Sates Military Officers
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

A robust bibliographical survey of the literature about US military officers.  The materials identified highlight biographies of particular key and notable officers as well as studies that engage with US officership at large.  Sources also engage with the services in existence at the time of publication (Navy, Marines, Army, and Air Force).

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael. “United States Military Officers,” Oxford Bibliography of Military History.  Lead author, with co-author Dr. Adrienne Harrison.  January 21, 2016. 

Deception and Fake News Image

Fake News and Information Warfare: An Examination of the Political and Psychological Processes from the Digital Sphere to the Real World
Dr. Karen Guttieri, AFCC

Fake news—false information passed off as factual—is an effective weapon in the information age. For instance, the Russian government perfected techniques used in its 2007 Estonian and 2008 Georgian cyber campaigns to support Donald Trump’s successful candidacy in the 2016 United States presidential election. In this chapter, the authors examine fake news and Russia’s cyberwarfare efforts across time as case studies of information warfare. The chapter identifies key terms and reviews extant political science and psychological research related to obtaining an understanding of psychological cyber warfare (“psywar”) through the proliferation of fake news. Specifically, the authors suggest that there are social, contextual, and individual factors that contribute to the spread and influence of fake news and review these factors in this chapter.

Guadagno, R.E. and Guttieri, K., “Fake News and Information Warfare,” Handbook of Research on Deception, Fake News, and Misinformation Online, Innocent E. Chiluwa and Sergei A. Samoilenko, eds. June 2019: 167-191.

Thinking Differently about Air Bases: Evolving with the Evolving Strategic Environment   Thinking Differently about Air Bases: Evolving with the Strategic Environment
  Col Kevin L. Parker, USAF
 

This 2016 statement from Miranda A. A. Ballentine, the former assistant secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Energy, remains true today and is a call to action for the Air Force, DOD, and Congress. “The Air Force is currently maintaining installations that are too big, too old, and too expensive for current and future needs.” The USAF has performed the same core missions from its bases since 1947. How the service performs those missions has changed drastically since then. According to the Air Force Future Operating Concept, this evolution will continue. Despite these changes, the Air Force’s bases will remain essential because “the foundation of Air Force readiness and lethality is an integrated network of resilient installations.” However, changing factors in the strategic environment demand that the service changes the way it operates, maintains, modifies, and protects its permanent air bases.

Mathematization Not Measurement Image Designing Cybersecurity into Defense Systems: An Information Economics Approach
Dr. Chad Dacus and Dr. Panayotis Yannakogeorgos, AFCC
 

Hackers have compromised the designs of numerous major US weapon systems. Safeguarding mission-critical systems requires effective network security and secure firmware and software. To achieve this, the US Defense Department should carefully screen contractors based on their past cybersecurity prowess and provide incentives for them to produce and maintain secure systems.

Dacus, C. and P. Yannakogeorgos. "Designing Cybersecurity into Defense Systems: An Information Economics Approach." IEEE Security and Privacy 14, no. 3 (May 2016): 44-51.

Revolutions in Tehnology

Revolutions in Technology: A consideration of the Role of Iterative Improvement in Warfare
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Part of the dialog and debate about cyber security and warfare concerns the question about whether cyber exploits become obsolete in the course of their first use. While the question centers on whether vulnerabilities can be patched immediately following their initial identification, the issue also carries implications regarding the iterative improvement of technologies. Actual battle experience, the presence of functional feedback loops, and dedication to improvement pave the way for iterative advances to keep pace ahead of changing challenges and environments. It is this iterative cycle that sometimes leads to rapid cumulative advances and effectively “revolutionary” effects, and this is actually part of a pattern that can be identified through historical study. In this case study, the revolutions of the chambers in Samuel Colt’s progressively improving firearms of the 1830s and 1840s provide a window on the connection between iteration and revolution, a question that deserves continued attention and consideration when turning to security and warfare in the digital realm.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael.  "Revolutions in Technology: A Consideration of the Role of Iterative Improvement in Warfare," Lead author, with co-author MAJ Nathan Jennings.  Cyber Defense Review.  February 1, 2016.

Mathematization Not Measurement Image   Mathematization, Not Measurement: A Critique of Stevens’ Scales of Measurement
  Dr. Melissa A. Thomas, AFCC
 

In the early 1900s, physics was the archetypical science and measurement was equated with mathematization to real numbers. To enable the use of mathematics to draw empirical conclusions about psychological data, which was often ordinal, Stevens redefined measurement as “the assignment of numerals to objects and events according to a rule.” He defined four scales of measurement (nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio) and set out criteria for the permissible statistical tests to be used with each. Stevens' scales of measurement are still widely used in data analysis in the social sciences. They were revolutionary but flawed, leading to ongoing debate about the permissibility of the use of different statistical tests on different scales of data. Stevens implicitly assumed measurement involved mapping to real numbers. Rather than rely on Stevens' scales, researchers should demonstrate the mathematical properties of their data and map to analogous number sets, making claims regarding mathematization explicit, defending them with evidence, and using only those operations that are defined for that set.

Thomas, M. A. 2020. “Mathematization, Not Measurement.” Journal of Methods and Measurement in the Social Sciences 10 (2): 76-94. 

Cyber Realpolitik Image Cyber Realpolitik
James Dever, M.A, J.D, AFCC
 

State-on-state conflict governed by generally clear rules of engagement was the predominant mode of warfare in the mid-twentieth century. Now, almost two decades into the post-9/11 world, state and non-state actors, transnational terrorists, and cyber operators thrive in twilight zones of domestic and international law. The past few years carry signs of troubles to come. Transnational terrorism, struck down in certain areas, but emboldened by twenty years of muddled U.S. and Allied counterterrorism policy, threatens again to break out of its Middle Eastern base. China is stealing U.S. trade secrets at a rate beyond alarming and forcing American companies to work inside China or forfeit profitable trade deals. Russia, a shadow of what it once was during the height of the Soviet Union, now seeks to project strength through information warfare against the West.

Guttieri, Governance, Innovation, and Information and Communications Technology for Civil-Military Interactions

Governance, Innovation, and Information and Communications Technology for Civil-Military Interactions
Dr. Karen Guttieri, AFCC

Civilian and military participants in relief and stability operations rely upon Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to collect, analyze, store, display, and share information that is critical for these civil-military interactions. This article investigates ICT innovation in these operations over time. As researchers in the sociology of technology school might predict, ICT innovation for relief and stability operations emerges in a distributed fashion, within clusters of specialty expertise that migrate across interconnected technology systems and across humanitarian and military activities. Major events such as natural disasters have punctuated the development of ICT for civil-military interactions, often driving community learning and coherence. Among the many stakeholders in the United States, the federal government in particular has played an important role in shaping the ICT ecosystem through policies and engagements. Government policies and changes in the field of action in the 1990s created imperatives for the US military in particular to collaborate with civilian agencies on ICT innovation. Civil-military information sharing gaps persist today due, in part, to institutional factors. 

Guttieri K. “Governance, Innovation, and Information and Communications Technology for Civil-Military Interactions.” Stability: International Journal of Security and Development. 2014;3(1):Art. 6. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/sta.dc 

Conceptual Framework Image

A Conceptual Framework for Defense Acquisition Decision Makers: Giving the Schedule its Due
Dr. Chad L. Dacus, AFCC

 

Conceptual models based on economic and operations research principles can yield valuable insight into defense acquisition decisions. This article focuses on models that place varying degrees of emphasis on each objective of the defense acquisition system: cost (low cost), schedule (short cycle times), and performance (high system performance). The most appealing conceptual model is chosen, which the authors posit that, if adopted, would lead to shifts in priorities that could facilitate better outcomes, as empirical results. Finally, several policy prescriptions implied by the model are briefly explored.

Peace Innovation Lab Logo

Peace Technology: Scope, Scale and Cautions
Quihuis, Margarita, Nelson, Mark, and Guttieri, Karen

 

Peace technology, as we have defined it at the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab, is fundamentally mediating technology—it acts as an intervening agent, augmenting our ability to engage positively with others. Peace technology, as we experience it today, contains four sub-components working together: 1. Sensors that can measure human engagement behavior with ever-greater precision (such as cameras, microphones & GPS) between any two social entities across difference boundaries such as gender, income, ethnicity, age, nationality, etc. 2. Communications technology including: cellular radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi capabilities in phones and laptops, as well as landline, fiber optic, and satellite networks. 3. Computation, particularly distributed and cloud-based computing. The above three components enable detection and early-warning systems. 4. The addition of actuators, which can include humans or devices, allows us to trigger and coordinate action in response.4. These four component technologies are now so inexpensive and ubiquitous that your smartphone contains many of each.

Quihuis, Margarita, Nelson, Mark, and Guttieri, Karen  “Peace Technology: Scope, Scale and Cautions,” Building Peace: A Forum for Peace and Security in the 21st Century, 2015. 

Revolutions in Tehnology

Perspectives on Training Cyber Warriors
Dr. Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, AFCC

Cadet education at West Point had by the early 2010s begun to seriously engage with issues supporting the education of cyber warriors.  Not only had USG-produced journals’ information helped build the landscape of accessible defense-focused literature in the field, but cadet senior projects research had also come to include studies treating with questions relating to cyber warfare.

Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael. “Perspectives on Training Cyber Warriors.”  in Cyber War:  A Reference Handbook.  pp. 116-20.  ed. PJ Springer, ABC-Clio.  February 2015.

Dacus and Hagel, A Conceptual Model for Defense Acquisition: Giving the Schedule its Due

A conceptual Model for Defense Acquisition: Giving the Schedule its Due
Dacus, C. and Hagel, S.

 

Conceptual models based on economic and operations research principles can yield valuable insight into defense acquisition decisions. This article focuses on models that place varying degrees of emphasis on each objective of the defense acquisition system: cost (low cost), schedule (short cycle times), and performance (high system performance). The most appealing conceptual model is chosen, which the authors posit that, if adopted, would lead to shifts in priorities that could facilitate better outcomes, as empirical results suggest. Finally, several policy prescriptions implied by the model are briefly explored.

Dacus, C. and S. Hagel. "A Conceptual Model for Defense Acquisition: Giving the Schedule its Due." Defense Acquisition Research Journal 21, no. 1 (January 2014): 486-504. 


Case Studies

The AF Cyber College is excited to launch its Cyber Case Studies Series. The vision for our collection is to offer educators with materials for classroom teaching of various cyber topics related to national defense—policy, law, strategy, and practice. Whether in professional military education, civilian university courses, or informal lunch-and-learns, these case studies will engage students with interesting dilemmas and active learning to discover and reinforce key concepts relevant to competing in the cyberspace domain. Each case study prompt (for students) is posted below. Extensive teaching notes (for instructors) are available upon request. Cyber College is also interested in external authors of case studies who wish to contribute to the series. Send inquiries to AWC.CyberCollege.Org@us.af.mil.

A prompt or pop-up case is a shorter piece that identifies a story, an image, a film or another “found” instance to prompt classroom discussion and analysis.

 

Borderless Data in a World of Borders

Dr. Melissa A. Thomas, AFCC

 

Air University | Air Force Cyber College

CASE: P01-2105R0

 

For Teaching Notes Contact:

AWC.CyberCollege.Org@us.af.mil

   

 Fly, Patch, and Don't Lose

 

Fly, Patch, and Don't Lose

Kevin L. Parker, AFCC

 

Air University | Air Force Cyber College

CASE: F01-2107R0

 

Teaching Notes

   

 WIZARD SPIDER: Lethally Poisonous Ransomware

 

 

WIZARD SPIDER: Lethally Poisonous Ransomware

Joshua A. Sipper, AFCC

 

Air University | Air Force Cyber College

CASE: F02-2109R0

 

Teaching Notes

 

   
Driving Artificial Intelligence

Driving Artificial Intelligence

Dr. Jim Chen, National Defense University

 

Air University | Air Force Cyber College

CASE: P02-2109R0

 

Teaching Notes

   
Hacking the Vaccine

Hacking the Vaccine

Dr. Chad Dacus, AFCC

 

Air University | Air Force Cyber College

CASE: P03-2109R0

 

Teaching Notes


Cyber LITE

 LANGUAGE INTENSIVE TRAINING EVENTS (LITE)

The Air Force Culture and Language Center’s Language Intensive Training Events (LITEs) immerse Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP) scholars in culturally complex settings. These events place the Airman in a traditional school, university studies program, or advanced setting such as an international training event or workshop with the goal of enhancing language proficiency.

In July 2021, the Air Force Cyber College co-hosted Cyber LITE with the Air Force Culture and Language Center in collaboration with the US Air Force Academy and Defense Language Institute. Students included LEAP scholars with Chinese Mandarin, Russian and German language skills who have career-related ties to cyber operations or an academic background in cyber studies. By combining language proficiency and cyberspace educational content, Cyber LITE prepares language enabled Airmen and Guardians for strategic competition.  

Cyber LITE Col Bosko 

Cyber LITE

Cyber LITE (Language Intensive Training Event)


Col. David Bosko, commandant, Air Force Cyber College, leads a discussion with Air Force and Space Force Language Enabled Airmen Program scholars attending the Cyber Language Intensive Training Event course, July 22, 2021, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Cyber LITE is a strategic competition course co-sponsored by the Air Force Culture and Language Center and Air Force Cyber College for advanced language proficiency LEAP scholars who have career-related ties to cyber operations or an academic background in cyber studies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox) 

   

 

Commandant, Col Bosko, teaching Cyber LITE
Dean, Dr. Karen Guttieri, teaching Cyber LITE

 

Assistant Dean, Col Kevin Parker, teaching Cyber LITE
Professor, Dr. Chad Dacus, teaching Cyber LITE
Professor, James Dever, Esq., teaching Cyber LITE


 

 

 


Cyber Power Portal

America is faced with a national emergency in cyberspace. Threat actors utilize weaknesses in information systems upon which modern societies rely on for economic prosperity and military superiority as tools. As we move from an Industrial Age world to a Digital Age world, educating all Airmen on understanding the operational and strategic implications how cyberspace impacts military mission and national security is critical.

Creating a culture of cybersecurity and mission assurance poses a great challenge for the AF, DOD and the nation. This guide is an effort to inform the AF as a whole on the broader implications of cyberspace and electronic warfare within the AF core missions. Currently, there exists a gap in understanding the fundamentals of cyberspace as it relates to military missions and broader strategic goals contributes to difficulties in understanding tactical and operational-level impacts to AF core functions, and results in a reduced capacity for effective strategic thinking and planning in cyberspace. This guide offers a consolidated resource to educate Airmen to deal with cyberspace issues during the operational and strategic planning and decision-making process.

This guide is an unclassified resource on concepts and principles of cyberspace operations that reflects a snapshot of expertise from thinkers and experts who are on the leading edge of shape the nation's thinking about cyberpower.

To enter the Cyber Power Portal click the link below:

Cyber Power Portal