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Suggested Citation:"Part II: Mission and Institutional Perspectives." National Research Council. 2009. Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12651.
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Suggested Citation:"Part II: Mission and Institutional Perspectives." National Research Council. 2009. Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12651.
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Page160

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Part II Mission and Institutional Perspectives Part II contains three different mission perspectives. Chapter 3 addresses military perspectives on cyberattack, largely from the point of view of the Department of Defense. Chapter 4 addresses intelligence perspectives on cyberattack (for conducting covert action) and cyberex- ploitation (for obtaining information). Chapter 5 addresses federal law enforcement perspectives on cyberattack and cyberexploitation and con- siders how the private sector might view cyberattack as an element of its defensive posture. These chapters depict in outline form how various institutions both inside and outside government have conceptualized or may in the future conceptualize the use of cyberattack and cyberexploita- tion technologies. Regrettably, the picture that emerges from these chapters is frag- mented and incomplete—largely because national policy with respect to cyberattack is fragmented and incomplete. The secrecy that surrounds policy in this area has further worsened the coherence of the overall picture. On the other hand, it is often true that with a new and easily available technology (the technology of cyber offensive actions), interests among a variety of different institutional actors in using this technology have arisen from the bottom up—from those with operational missions. In the early stages of technology adoption, some actors consider how the technology of cyber offensive actions might support or better enable the performance of their traditional missions—and others ignore it. The bottom-up nature of technology adoption in such cases inevitably leads to adoptions at different rates and for relatively parochial purposes, and 159

160 Technology, Policy, Law, And Ethics Of U.s. Cyberattack CapabiliTIES so the fragmentation of policy and organization today is not entirely surprising. Nevertheless, the committee believes there is value in setting forth a notional view of how these institutions might conceptualize the uses of cyberattack, the associated decision-making structures, and the infra- structure needed to support the use of cyberattack as an instrument in their toolkits. If nothing else, the availability of a notional view provides a framework against which to react and within which to pose questions about what might be missing. These comments should be kept in mind as these chapters are read. Part II also contains Chapter 6, a description of decision-making and oversight mechanisms in both the executive and the legislative branches that are relevant for cyberattack. Considering these mechanisms from a top-down perspective is intended to provide some points of reference that can help to identify what is missing from the picture painted by Chapters 3, 4, and 5.

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The United States is increasingly dependent on information and information technology for both civilian and military purposes, as are many other nations. Although there is a substantial literature on the potential impact of a cyberattack on the societal infrastructure of the United States, little has been written about the use of cyberattack as an instrument of U.S. policy.

Cyberattacks--actions intended to damage adversary computer systems or networks--can be used for a variety of military purposes. But they also have application to certain missions of the intelligence community, such as covert action. They may be useful for certain domestic law enforcement purposes, and some analysts believe that they might be useful for certain private sector entities who are themselves under cyberattack. This report considers all of these applications from an integrated perspective that ties together technology, policy, legal, and ethical issues.

Focusing on the use of cyberattack as an instrument of U.S. national policy, Technology, Policy, Law and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities explores important characteristics of cyberattack. It describes the current international and domestic legal structure as it might apply to cyberattack, and considers analogies to other domains of conflict to develop relevant insights. Of special interest to the military, intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security communities, this report is also an essential point of departure for nongovernmental researchers interested in this rarely discussed topic.

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