Terms Of Engagement For Cyber Warfare: Techniques Essay


Discuss about the Terms of Engagement for Cyber Warfare.



The world needs cyber war terms of engagement to manage to the probably devastating cyber weapons. Regardless of the growing complexities of the cyberspace along with the considerable strategic challenge cyber warfare could pose vital interest to numerous nations particular rules for the cyber warfare exist [1]. Countries need to seek to develop as well as maintain cyber warfare rules to be able to develop the globally recognized norms, as well as mitigate the problems on the essential governmental, commercial as well as private resources and assist hang on the belligerent actors more accountable [12]. An example of cyber-attacks which occurred against Georgia in the summer of the year 2008 provided a contemporary example to the complexities which are associated to the cyber-attack attribution, application of the law for the armed conflicts principles to the war as along with the international ineptitude of communities when it comes to responding.

The terms of engagement of warfare are very clear and they have been spelled out in the Geneva Convention. Various types of weapon have been banned and certain protection have existed for the civilian as well as the medical entities [13]. However, when it comes to cyber warfare there has been no clear policies on how to address on this issues. In this research it will examine the aspect of terms of engagement for the cyber warfare. The focus will be how the world leader have highlighted on the cyberwar rules of engagement since it has posed a challenge to many nations.

The terms of engagement for the deployment of the cyber-weapons needs to be developed by the nations so as to prevent any event which could arise [15]. The wars have traditionally been waged between the nations or clearly defined groups which declare themselves in the conflict. This has yet to happen openly on the internet, despite such accusations have been leveled against countries such as China, Russia as well as other nations [11]. The aspect of the cyber warfare has been more likely to reflect on the wars which are fought shadowy basically by the terrorist network such as the Al-Qaeda as comparison to the conflict which exists between the uniformed national military forces. One aspect of the war is that the lines need to be drawn and there should be an understanding who is the enemy [12]. When it comes to the cyber-attack it is not possible to know who to declare war to.

Discussion on rule of cyber conflicts

The discussion on the issue of the cyber conflict occurred after the infamous Stuxnet worm which blamed for the infecting business control system as well as sabotaging centrifuges at the contentious Iranian nuclear facilities [14]. Such was the world fist cyber weapon which happened via the cyber-espionage in most of the guises which unquestionably happened to be practiced by the intelligence agencies throughout the worldwide for many years. The computer systems usually underpin the delivery of the essential services which can incorporate the utilities along with telecoms along with the banking and the government services [16]. The vital national infrastructure systems are the most privately held in most of the nations. The attack against these critical systems could be commonplace since they tend to be low to the level of the information stealing or even the denial of the services exploits [13]. There are many independent who are expert particularly in the cyber security they are dismissing talk about the cyberwar hype [18]. The rules of the cyberwarfare they seek in the establishment of the protected domains for example in the schools and the hospital which are off the limit of the attack.

Conflict between the nations

Currently, USA and Russia are engaged in the creeping cyberwarfare against one another [14]. They have gone to an extend of disabling or even undermining each other critical infrastructure. The potential has deadly between these two countries and it has affected them adversely since they are not subjected to any rudimentary rule or even mutual agreement which has existed to govern them. There would be a need to fix, through the multilateral process which are under the auspices of the United Nations [15]. Nonetheless, according to the British government sources they highlighted to the BBC that they are not much convinced that there is need for a treaty which could govern on the cyberspace conflict. Moreover, based on their view they think that there is a need for a discussion on the proportional response especially on the attribution of the source of the attack [3]. It is important to note that to identify the source of the cyber-assault that could easily be launched from the networks which is compromised by the third-party.

There is need for the countries to agree on the basic notions for example what could constitute an attack or even illegal intervention, as opposed to just the mere nuisance, and what has retaliatory moves are more legitimate or even excessive [18]. The cyber security incidents such as the one alleged that the Russian hacked the Democratic National Committee on their emails clearly shows that in the USA as well as other major power they have not established any terms of engagement such as those which governed their behavior in the cold war [17]. The problem might be even more serious since the defense thinkers have only now begun to grapple on this aspect when it comes to how the international conflict in the cyber arena could play out. An example when it comes to the nuclear weapons there is a bold line which is established between the use of the nuclear weapons and not using them, but when it comes to the cyber-crime there is no such guidelines [11]. However, like the nuclear exchange, the computer warfare could be whole lot easier to begin to manage. The basic question in relation to the second day of this war have just begun to be asked; the technology has run much ahead of this doctrine to the extent of the unmatched when it comes to the annals of the warfare.

View in regards to terms of engagement for the cyber warfare

The countries are beginning to develop their own cyberwarfare policies to be able to protect their national interests, but defending themselves especially from the borderless internet may prove very problematic [10]. There has been speculation among the politician as well as the pundits that the aspect of war would soon extend to the internet, based on the recent report that the USA department of Defense would introduce on the cyberwarfare doctrine [5]. The war has traditionally been waged between the nation and this is yet to happen openly on the internet, although this accusation has not been leveled against countries such as China as well as Russia.

As nations enters into the new era where there has been advancement in attackers which has increased effort in order to steal the nations intellectual property, USA has been putting final touches when it comes to the terms of engagement so as to respond to the cyber-attacks. Moreover, the USA has been running stories on the new framework for having an effective cyber response [9]. The rules which govern on the state action particularly in the cyberspace are much similar to those which govern on the state behavior in other areas. When waging on the cyberwar, there is need of ensuring that the attack as well as tactics are militarily important and distinguishable between the combatants as well as the noncombatants and which is the force that is used is much proportional to which gain has been achieved [7]. On the draft document which is aimed to facilitate security aspect on the issue of cybercrime calls for the fresh definition of the nation state with the new territories as well as the cyberspace which is beyond the government [8]. In the proposal it clearly highlights that the ambiguity in regards to what constitutes to the cyber conflict is the delay for the international policy to deal with the idea of peace or even war which is simple in regards to the internet age when the world might find itself in a third other than the war mode. Other countries are also following suit to be able to curb on the issue of the cyber-crime such as UK they are developing the cyber weapons programs which will have attacking capability in order to help counter growing of the threats to the national security on the cyberspace [7]. Moreover, Australia has also highlighted that they are also developing cybersecurity strategy to be in a position of confronting on the growing threat which has been posed by the electronic espionage, theft as well as state sponsored cyber-attacks.

Laws on cyber warfare

According to the principle of jus ad bellum it means the right to war. This aims to limit the rightful reason as to why state could fight by defining what kind of the action would constitute to the act of the war and in a derivative sense, prescribed to what state actions are as well as not acceptable especially during peacetime [6]. Based on this principle therefore, there is no experience of the cyberwar since there is no state which has every declared one, even though there has been cyber-conflict which has been common among the countries [4]. An example, in Ukrainian power grid attack was part of the ongoing conflict, thus, it was an act of the war. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that despite widespread consensus in regards to who was ultimately behind the attack there was no nation that reacted on the act of aggression nor did they sought some recompense through the international legal avenues.

Over the years there has been major difficulties when it comes to prescribing to the right to a just war when it comes to cyber [5]. This is because of the aspect of the attribution of the attack which is either still not very good or even it entails release of the classified, sensitive information, and confirming the identity of the aggressor is very difficult. It is through the government and the private organization will they profess on the improvement of the capabilities of attribution, hence providing the aggressor beyond any reasonable doubt to enable them face the hurdles.

There has been international policy making time as well as effort which has been deployed towards the development of the norms for the state behavior which is much way below the threshold for the war and of the confidence building measures particularly for the cyberspace [2]. An example, is the Tallinn manual 1.0 which has begun development for the second version which focuses on the international legal framework which applies to the cyber-operations which should be below the threshold for the war.


The world today it needs the terms of engagement when it comes to the cyber warfare to be in a position of coping with the devastating cyber weapons which have arisen over the years due to the development of internet. When it comes to the cyber weapons they have attributes which have not been seen previously with the traditional weapons nor are they considered when it comes to the development of the current laws of war. The cyber weapon can deliver in the blink of an eye the widest behavior which could be reproduced and at the same time transferred when lacking the target discrimination. There is need for the international treaties which would govern the countries when it comes to the cyber warfare which has significantly affected many nations. The countries need to engage and agree on the basic notions for example on what constitutes to the attack or even the illegal intervention as compared to the mere nuisance and what retaliatory moves are legitimate or even excessive when addressing on the issue of the cyber warfare. There should be terms of engagement which are developed between the countries to enable them guide one another. In USA NATO have presented the second edition of the Tallinn Manual which clearly examines on the current international laws which can be applied to the issue of the cyber warfare. This manual was compiled based on the Cyberattacks which have occurred globally. The terms of engagement policies needs to be developed to respond on the attack of cyber war that could occur. In this research, it has examined on the aspect of terms of engagement for the cyber warfare which has been a predominant issues that is not addressed fully. The research has provided a clear guidelines on how different nations are approaching on the issue and the possible laws which are being applied to address it with emphasis with some recommendations.


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