The empirical record of cyber attacks features much computer crime, espionage and hacktivism, but none of the major damage feared in prevalent threat narratives. The purpose of this article is to explain the absence of serious adverse consequences and the durability of this trend.
Cross-Domain Deterrence (CDD)...
...is the use of capabilities of one type to counter threats or combinations of threats of another type in order to prevent unacceptable attacks. Examples might include using air power to retaliate for terrorism or cyber disruption of military command and control.
CDD is not a new problem—actors have long combined disparate means to pursue political goals or evade their opponents’ deterrent threats—but the complexity of CDD in the contemporary world makes understanding it more important than ever.
What is the importance of cross-domain deterrence research?
The emergence of new military technology, such as cyber warfare or anti-satellite and space-based weapons, and the interdependence of threat technology with civilian infrastructure, creates major challenges for conventional frameworks for deterrence.
A wide range of political actors, from rising powers like China to regional spoilers like Russia and Iran and even non-state actors, now seek to leverage emerging threat capabilities for advantage against powerful actors like the United States, which in turn look to exploit the same technologies to safeguard their interests.
While strategic actors have employed a variety of means such as naval and land forces to pursue coercive objectives since antiquity, the rise of threats to space and cyber infrastructure makes deterrence particularly challenging for policymakers and theorists today.
Non-military coercive options such as economic sanctions or population flows, as well as the growing influence of non-state actors in global politics, further complicate the strategic calculus.