Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States
How does one prevent someone from doing something they do not want them to do Although the opening quote from the Bible indicates this question is as old as humankind, people continue to seek viable solutions to the problem of deterring objectionable behavior. This universal search for a solution spans the full spectrum of human relationships from one-on-one parenting in homes to nation-to-nation international relations at the United Nations. Possible solutions to this timeless question, within the context of national security studies, are posed in deterrence theory.3 Reflecting a renewed emphasis on answering this question, the Department of Defense DoD is examining evolving theories of deterrence4. By reexamining long-held beliefs on deterrence, the DoD is seeking new ideas in the wake of technological breakthroughs and shifts in the geostrategic environment which can dramatically affect deterrence theory and potentially render aspects of it obsolete. 5 This timely research objective can be applied to many areas of national security, particularly in the contested and constantly evolving cyberspace domain. With such rapid advances in cyberspace technology, the DoD seeks to understand how nation-states manage the risk of escalation as other nations and non-state actors acquire increasingly lethal and sophisticated capabilities in this domain.