February 18, 2022

Will Biden’s ‘Severe Costs’ on Russia Include Cyber Attacks?

By Carrie Cordero

What if the “severe costs”—the damage the United States and its allies cause to the Russian military and government should they invade Ukraine—comes not with just sanctions, but through the use of cyber operations? Will we ever know?

Despite all of the attention paid to the deployment of 3,000 U.S. troops to Poland to support NATO’s defense, satellite images of Russian troops amassed on the Ukrainian border, and potential sanctions if Putin opts to invade, we simply don’t know what actions may or may not be taken in cyberspace by the U.S. government or NATO. But we should know something. Congress and the Biden administration should use this moment to ensure that, whatever Americans are told, it is the best possible and most transparent understanding of how their government is protecting the nation and its allies.

The lack of openness about how nations are operating in the cyber domain may be limiting the world’s understanding of what activities may be going on behind the scenes.

So far, the White House and intelligence offices at the FBI, National Security Agency, and Department of Homeland Security are actively warning about Russian state-sponsored malign cyber activity, but the U.S. government does not articulate how it might respond. This outdated lack of transparency about the true conduct of 21st century asymmetric war—or hostile activity below the threshold of war—clouds the domestic and geopolitical debate and hinders our ability to formulate policy options and inform decisions about military preparedness, engagements, and diplomacy.

Read the full article from Defense One.

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