Space and Cyberdeterrence
It’s politically sensitive, but it’s going to happen…. We’re going to fight in space.
We’re going to fight from space and we’re going to fight into space.
—General Joseph Ashy, former commander in chief, U.S. Space Command1
Cyber security risks pose some of the most serious economic and national security
challenges of the 21st Century.
—Cyberspace Policy Review 20102
Since the late 1940s, most works on deterrence have been dedicated to nuclear weapons associated with conventional means such as aircraft, ships, and tanks (conventional deterrence having been part of the overall deterrence doctrine all along, particularly in the United States). Today, deterrence faces a broader spectrum of challenges, and space and cyberspace are among them. Both domains have gained a new prominence and deserve serious attention. To mention only two recent examples, China demonstrated its ability to destroy satellites in January 2007,3 and in October 2010 the Stuxnet cyberworm affair inaugurated the era of major sabotage operations directed at industrial sites’ command and control systems.4
In other words, to write a book on deterrence in this day and age without mentioning those two contested global commons, as different as one may be from the
1 Quoted in William B. Scott, “USSC Prepares for Future Combat Missions in Space,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, Vol. 145, No. 6, August 5, 1996, p. 51.
2 U.S. White House, Cyberspace Policy Review: Assuring a Trusted and Resilient Information and Communications Infrastructure, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, May 2009.
3 This was followed exactly three years later, in January 2010, by the destruction of a ballistic missile using hitto-kill technology.
4 Stuxnet, tailored for Siemens supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), was able to recognize a specific facility’s control network and then modify it or destroy it. Stuxnet’s targets are suspected to be Iranian nuclear facilities. This complex computer worm has affected industrial sites in Russia, Indonesia, India, China, and Iran. The computer worm is the first one specifically created to take over industrial control systems rather than steal or manipulate data.