Responsible cyber power

Examining the implications for government,
industry and society
The rising interest in cyber power reflects a growing recognition that many defence and security objectives, which aim to project influence and protect national interests, have expanded into cyberspace
Responsible Cyber Power icon We are well into the era of cyber power.
 
As a concept, cyber power and related ideas have been used around the world to frame government thinking on protecting and promoting national interests in cyberspace, including security, prosperity and values.
 
The rising interest in cyber power reflects a growing recognition that many defence and security objectives, which aim to project influence and protect national interests, have expanded into cyberspace. As one example of how this thinking is central to government policy, the new UK cyber strategy is due out at the end of 2021 and restates the intent from the earlier Integrated Review for the UK to be a leading, global cyber power.
 
BAE Systems is actively thinking through what it means to be a responsible cyber power, and what it means for different parts of government, industry and society.
 
While its scope and emphasis remain a topic of debate, the concept of cyber power draws attention to the holistic range of objectives pursued by the nation in and through cyberspace – some of which are pursued by the military, security and intelligence organisations, but others pursued by other parts of government and industry. Indeed, the range of objectives are dependent on a “whole of society” effort – they cannot be achieved by government alone.


What are these objectives?

  • Power projection through showing international leadership in national cyber defence capabilities, supported by the cyber defence ecosystem.
  • A clear and holistic cyber strategy for the nation, led by a strong national cyber agency co-opting all parts of government, industry and society.
  • A strong technology sector that drives prosperity, enables and contributes to national cyber defences, and is capable of exporting cybersecurity capabilities.
  • Effective collaboration between government and the technology sector, to influence the evolution of technology and standards.
  • A clearly articulated vision for the future of the internet that embodies the values of government and society.
  • Cyber diplomacy and relationship-building – the ability to show leadership and promote its vision for norms and values in and through cyberspace.
  • Responsible development of and use of offensive cyber capabilities.
 
In the UK, this is certainly an important moment for government, with the Integrated Review and National Cyber Strategy marking an inflexion point in setting national interests in this domain.
 
Though they may use different terminology, or frame the questions in a different way, other international governments are grappling with the same issues. These require a national and international debate about the future of cyber.
 

In a series of papers, blogs and interviews we explore different aspects of cyber power, which we hope support further discussion:


 

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