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Cyberspace and armed forces: the rationale for offensive cyber capabilities

By James A Lewis

A serious approach to military modernisation requires countries to equip, train, and organise cyberforces for what has become an essential component of national defence and deterrence. A force without adequate cyber capabilities is more dangerous to itself than to its opponents. As nations move forward in rethinking the role and nature of their military forces, and as they study the problems of organisation, doctrine and use of cyber operations, they need to:

  • develop the full range of military cyber capabilities with both offensive and defensive application
  • create a centralised command structure for those capabilities, with clear requirements for political-level approval for action
  • embed those capabilities in doctrine and a legal framework based on international law.