Cyber operations, particularly against critical civilian infrastructure, military forces, or strategic command-and-control systems, are widely assumed to pose new escalation risks, which may, in extreme situations, include nuclear use. How might the proliferation of offensive cyber capabilities be strategically destabilizing? How might these risks be mitigated? More specifically, what are the implications of cyber threats to strategic command-and-control systems? What are the best ways to prevent and deter such threats? Finally, how relevant are nuclear-derived theories of deterrence to the challenges of using cyber means to influence adversaries’ conduct—not only in cyberspace, but also in the realms of terrorism, political repression, nuclear proliferation, or interference in elections?
Michèle Flournoy, Center for a New American Security
Emily Goldman, Director, U.S. Cyber Command/National Security Agency Combined Action Group
Sir David Omand, King’s College London
Xu Manshu, National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army