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From Cyberspace to Cyberpower:
Defining the Problem
Dr Dan Kuehl
Information Resources Management College/National Defense University
Dan Kuehl teaches Information Operations at the National Defense University. His research and publications focus on the information component of national power, subjects on which he lectures across the DOD, US Government, and internationally.
The author is indebted to the comments and suggestions provided by other members of the CTNSP working group during numerous reviews of this chapter, especially Will O’Neill, Marjory Blumenthal, Dave Clark, and Stu Starr.
This chapter has several ambitious but critical objectives for this book: to lay out the central concepts for what we mean by cyberspace and cyberpower; to suggest definitions that capture the logic behind these concepts; and to establish a set of foundations that future work can build upon. “Cyberspace” has been in our lexicon for two decades, since a young author named William Gibson used it to describe “a consensual hallucination” in his sci-fi novel, Neuromancer, but there is certainly no consensus on its meaning in the operational world of the 21st Century.[i] While organs of government attempt to define its meaning in the real, operational world—Gibson’s approach obviously won’t suffice—the approaches we develop towards this domain will shape how it interacts with other domains and affects relationships among the other elements and instruments of power, especially how humans and the organizations we create use that power. The march of technology and progress guarantees that even while we debate this definition—regardless of exactly how we define it now and refine it in the future--our use of cyberspace has already reached the point where an increasingly wide range of our social, political, economic and military activities are dependent on it and thus vulnerable to both interruption of its use and usurpation of its capabilities. This...
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