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An Assessment of the DoD Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace

Authored by Dr. Thomas M. Chen.

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In July 2011, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) issued the DoD Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace, which outlines five strategic initiatives: 1) Treat cyberspace as another operational domain; 2) Employ new defense operating concepts to protect DoD networks; 3) Partner with other U.S. Government agencies and the private sector; 4) Build relationships with U.S. allies and international partners to strengthen cyber security; and, 5) Leverage national intellect and capabilities through cyber workforce training and rapid technological innovation. First, the monograph explores the evolution of cyberspace strategy through a series of government publications leading up to the DoD Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace. It is seen that, although each strategy has different emphases on ideas, some major themes recur. Second, each strategic initiative is elaborated and critiqued in terms of significance, novelty, and practicality. Third, the monograph critiques the DoD Strategy as a whole. Is it comprehensive and adequate to maintain U.S. superiority in cyberspace against a rapidly changing threat landscape? Shortcomings in the strategy are identified, and recommendations are made for improvement in future versions of the strategy.

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