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Is the World Ready for the New Era of Deterrence?

Lawrence J. Korb and Steve Cimbala write about how deterrence will change in the 21st century.

The twenty-first century will challenge the concept of deterrence in new ways. Some are already apparent. There are at least nine important components of the new metaverse for deterrence (or meta-deterrence) that will be significant for military planners, policymakers, and theorists.

The first component of the new metaverse for deterrence is the growing threat to states’ cybersecurity and the possibility of cyberwar. Cyberwar among state and non-state actors is already a significant challenge to international security. Cyberattacks occur as solo excursions or as supplements to the kinetic use of force. Both the public and private sectors are vulnerable to cyberwar, and the possibility of a crippling attack against American infrastructure, including military forces and command systems, requires constant vigilance and upgrades to information systems. In the case of nuclear deterrence, a nuclear first strike would probably be preceded by cyberattacks against the opponent’s early warning, command-and-control, and response systems in order to introduce confusion or paralysis that could delay or forestall an effective response.

The above excerpt was originally published in The National Interest. Click here to view the full article.

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Lawrence J. Korb

Senior Fellow

Steve Cimbala


National Security and International Policy

Advancing progressive national security policies that are grounded in respect for democratic values: accountability, rule of law, and human rights.

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