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Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities Part III Intellectual Tools for Understanding and Thinking About Cyberattack Cyberattack is a complex topic that is often oversimplified and/or demonized in popular accounts. Part III is intended to provide the reader with a variety of intellectual tools useful for thinking about cyberattack in its many forms and permutations. Chapter 7 provides a primer on legal issues relevant to cyberattack, mostly related to international law. These issues arise because of the U.S. commitment to act in compliance with the international law of armed conflict and its treaty obligations (including that of the Charter of the United Nations) and because cyberattack presents various challenges in interpreting laws written and established to govern traditional kinetic warfare between nation-states. Chapter 8 examines a number of previously studied areas for possible lessons relevant to cyberattack. These include nuclear weapons and warfare, space as a domain of conflict, biological weapons, and non-lethal weapons. Chapter 8 will demonstrate that all of these areas have within them some relevant study or precedent, but that none of them carry over fully to cyberattack. Chapter 9 presents some speculations on the dynamics of cyberconflict as it might involve the United States as a major player. Not much is known today about how such cyberconflict might start, and even less about how it would evolve over time. The best that can be done is to reason from analogy in a largely preliminary fashion, and that is the role of Chapter 9.
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Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities Chapter 10 describes a variety of alternative futures. The current stance of the United States toward cyberattack is one that puts no constraints on its use apart from those imposed by the law of armed conflict and related customary international law. But other stances are possible, and from time to time proposals emerge that, if adopted, would constrain activities related to cyberattack undertaken by all nations, including the United States. Chapter 10 explores some of these proposals in notional form but does not take a stand one way or another on their inherent desirability.