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Deterrence is possible only when others have at least a good idea of possible U.S. military reprisals, but cyberattack capabilities resist such demonstration. This report explores ways they can be and under what circumstances, then goes on to examine the difficulties and the drawbacks. Such "brandishing" is no panacea and could even backfire if misinterpreted. Its success also relies on the strength of other elements of the deterrence posture.
U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan have failed to exploit information power, which could be a U.S. advantage but instead is being used advantageously by insurgents. Because insurgency and counterinsurgency involve a battle for the allegiance of a population between a government and an armed opposition movement, the key to exploiting information power is to connect with and learn from the population itself, increasing the effectiveness of both the local government and the U.S. military and civilian services engaged in supporting it. Utilizing mostly available networking technology, the United States could achieve early, affordable, and substantial gains in the effectiveness of counterinsurgency by more open, integrated, and inclusive information networking with the population, local authorities, and coalition partners. The most basic information link with the population would be an information technology (IT)-enhanced, fraud-resistant registry-census. The most promising link would come from utilizing local cell phone networks, which are proliferating even among poor countries. Access to data routinely collected by such networks can form the basis for security services such as enhanced-911 and forensics. The cell phones of a well-wired citizenry can be made tantamount to sensor fields in settled areas. They can link indigenous forces with each other and with U.S. forces without interoperability problems; they can also track the responses of such forces to emergencies. Going further, outfitting weaponry with video cameras would bolster surveillance, provide lessons learned, and guard against operator misconduct. Establishing a national Wiki can help citizens describe their neighborhoods to familiarize U.S. forces with them and can promote accountable service delivery. All such information can improve counterinsurgency operations by making U.S. forces and agencies far better informed than they are at present. The authors argue that today?'s military and intelligence networks-being closed, compartmentalized, controlled by information providers instead of users, and limited to U.S. war fighters-hamper counterinsurgency and deprive the United States of what ought to be a strategic advantage. In contrast, based on a review of 160 requirements for counterinsurgency, the authors call for current networks to be replaced by an integrated counterinsurgency operating network (ICON) linking U.S. and indigenous operators, based on principles of inclusiveness, integration, and user preeminence. Utilizing the proposed ways of gathering information from the population, ICON would improve the timeliness, reliability, and relevance of information, while focusing security restrictions on truly sensitive information. The complexity and sensitivity of counterinsurgency call for vastly better use of IT than has been seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here is a practical plan for just that.
The chances are growing that the United States will find itself in a crisis in cyberspace-the escalation of tensions associated with a major cyberattack, suspicions that one has taken place, or fears that it might do so soon. Such crises can be managed by taking steps to reduce the incentives for other states to step in, controlling the narrative, understanding the stability parameters of the crises, and recognizing escalation risks.
Cyberspace, where information--and hence serious value--is stored and manipulated, is a tempting target. An attacker could be a person, group, or state and may disrupt or corrupt the systems from which cyberspace is built. When states are involved, it is tempting to compare fights to warfare, but there are important differences. The author addresses these differences and ways the United States protect itself in the face of attack.
Governments spend billions to protect against terrorism. Might it help to understand what al Qaeda would achieve with each specific attack? This book examines various hypotheses of terrorist targeting: is it (1) to coerce, (2) to damage economies, (3) to rally the faithful, or (4) a decision left to affiliates? This book analyzes past attacks, post hoc justifications, and expert opinion to weigh each hypothesis.
What is the impact of demographics on the prospective production of military power and the causes of war? This monograph analyzes this issue by projecting working-age populations through 2050; assessing the influence of demographics on manpower, national income and expenditures, and human capital; and examining how changes in these factors may affect the ability of states to carry out military missions.
RAND studied 89 modern insurgency cases to test conventional understanding about how insurgencies end. Findings relevant to policymakers and analysts include that modern insurgencies last about ten years; withdrawal of state support cripples insurgencies; civil defense forces are useful for both sides; pseudodemocracies fare poorly against insurgents; and governments win more often in the long run.
All terrorist groups eventually end. But how do they end? The evidence since 1968 indicates that most groups have ended because (1) they joined the political process (43 percent) or (2) local police and intelligence agencies arrested or killed key members (40 percent). Military force has rarely been the primary reason for the end of terrorist groups, and few groups within this time frame have achieved victory. This has significant implications for dealing with al Qa'ida and suggests fundamentally rethinking post-9/11 U.S. counterterrorism strategy: Policymakers need to understand where to prioritize their efforts with limited resources and attention. The authors report that religious terrorist groups take longer to eliminate than other groups and rarely achieve their objectives. The largest groups achieve their goals more often and last longer than the smallest ones do. Finally, groups from upper-income countries are more likely to be left-wing or nationalist and less likely to have religion as their motivation. The authors conclude that policing and intelligence, rather than military force, should form the backbone of U.S. efforts against al Qa'ida. And U.S. policymakers should end the use of the phrase 'war on terrorism' since there is no battlefield solution to defeating al Qa'ida.
The Internet is a new battleground between governments that censor online content and those who advocate freedom for all to browse, post, and share information online. This report examines how Internet freedom may transform state-society relations in nondemocratic regimes, using case studies of China, Egypt, Russia, and Syria, and also draws parallels between Internet freedom and Radio Free Europe programs during the Cold War.
Criminal activities in cyberspace are increasingly facilitated by burgeoning black markets for both tools (e.g., exploit kits) and take (e.g., credit card information). This report, part of a multiphase study on the future security environment, describes the fundamental characteristics of these markets and how they have grown into their current state to explain how their existence can harm the information security environment. Understanding the current and predicted landscape for these markets lays the groundwork for follow-on exploration of options to minimize the potentially harmful influence these markets impart. Experts agree that the coming years will bring more activity in darknets, more use of crypto-currencies, greater anonymity capabilities in malware, and more attention to encrypting and protecting communications and transactions; that the ability to stage cyberattacks will likely outpace the ability to defend against them; that crime will increasingly have a networked or cyber component, creating a wider range of opportunities for black markets; and that there will be more hacking for hire, as-a-service offerings, and brokers. Experts disagree, however, on who will be most affected by the growth of the black market (e.g., small or large businesses, individuals), what products will be on the rise (e.g., fungible goods, such as data records and credit card information; non-fungible goods, such as intellectual property), or which types of attacks will be most prevalent (e.g., persistent, targeted attacks; opportunistic, mass "smash-and-grab" attacks).
The U.S. military is ill-equipped to strike at extremists who hide in populations. Using deadly force against them can harm and alienate the very people whose cooperation U.S. forces are trying to earn. To solve this problem, a new RAND study proposes a "continuum of force"--a suite of capabilities that includes sound, light, lasers, cell phones, and video cameras. These technologies are available but have received insufficient attention.
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