The US Department of Defense (DoD) has published its 2018 DoD Cyber Strategy, which directs DoD to defend forward, shape the day-to-day competition, and prepare for war. According to the document, the DoD will defend forward to disrupt or stop malicious cyber activity at its source and it will preempt, defeat, or deter malicious cyber activity targeting U.S. critical infrastructure. The DoD also aims to shape the day-to-day-competition with USA’s strategic competitors who undermine USA’s stability and prosperity, namely Russia and China. It will also prepare military cyber capabilities to be used in the event of crisis or conflict. Aside from competing and deterring in cyberspace, the strategic approach outlined by the DoD in the document also consists of building a more lethal Joint force, expanding alliances and partnerships, reforming the Department, and cultivating talent.
Cyber-attacks can have a background in international relations, or bring about the consequences that can escalate to a political and diplomatic level. An increasing number of states appear to be developing their own cyber-tools for the defense, offence and intelligence related to cyberconflict.
The use of cyber-weapons by states - and, more generally, the behavior of states in cyberspace in relation to maintaining international peace and security - is moving to the top of the international agenda.