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Crisis and Escalation in Cyberspace

January 8, 2013

Crisis and Escalation in Cyberspace
Source: RAND Corporation

The chances are growing that the United States will find itself in a crisis in cyberspace, with the escalation of tensions associated with a major cyberattack, suspicions that one has taken place, or fears that it might do so soon. The genesis for this work was the broader issue of how the Air Force should integrate kinetic and nonkinetic operations. Central to this process was careful consideration of how escalation options and risks should be treated, which, in turn, demanded a broader consideration across the entire crisis-management spectrum. Such crises can be managed by taking steps to reduce the incentives for other states to step into crisis, by controlling the narrative, understanding the stability parameters of the crises, and trying to manage escalation if conflicts arise from crises.

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