Air Power and Cyber

Authored by: Richard B. Andres

Routledge Handbook of Air Power

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138632608
eBook ISBN: 9781315208138
Adobe ISBN:


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Air-cyber integration involves the orchestration and application of air and cyber capabilities to create joint warfighting effects in the physical as well as the virtual battlespace. This chapter suggests that to understand the cyber domain as it relates to war one could divide it into three distinct categories. The first involves gaining access to adversaries’ computer networks while denying them access to friendly networks (access and denial). The second seeks to produce effects against an adversary that aid the attacker but do not provoke an escalatory response from the defender (generate sub-war effects). The third category comprises using access and effects developed in the earlier stages to assist military operations during a war (kinetic violence). The author illustrates the use of cyber technology in six recent military campaigns and concludes that, to utilise cyber capabilities effectively, national decision-makers must understand the unique character of cyber conflict: a game-changing revolutionary technology that cannot easily be adapted to existing operational thought. National decision-makers must develop a culture that encourages not only technological acumen but also a mind-set that can deal with tactical, operational, and strategic ambiguity. Cyber is ‘a wild card in future wars’ because it is so difficult to predict its impact and effects.

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