News | Jan. 1, 2008

Cyber Influence and International Security

By Franklin D. Kramer and Larry Wentz Defense Horizons 61


Cyber Influence and International SecurityOverview 

Cyber influence is an ongoing source of power in the international security arena. Although the United States has an enormous cyber information capacity, its cyber influence is not proportional to that capacity. Impediments to American cyber influence include the vastness and complexity of the international information environment, multiplicity of cultures and differing audiences to which communications must be addressed, extensiveness and significance of contending or alternative messages, and complexity and importance of using appropriate influential messengers and message mechanisms. 

Enhancing the influence of the United States in cyberspace will require a multifaceted strategy that differentiates the circumstances of the messages, key places of delivery, and sophistication with which messages are created and delivered, with particular focus on channels and messengers. 

To improve in these areas, the United States must focus on actions that include discerning the nature of the audiences, societies, and cultures into which messages will be delivered; increasing the number of experts in geographic and cultural arenas, particularly in languages; augmenting resources for overall strategic communications and cyber influence efforts; encouraging long-term communications and cyber influence efforts along with short-term responses; and understanding that successful strategic communications and cyber influence operations cannot be achieved by the United States acting on its own; allies and partners are needed both to shape our messages and to support theirs.