Saturday, December 16, 2023

CRS Reports – Week of 12-16-23 – Cyber in War

This week the Congressional Research Service (CRS) published three reports dealing with cyber operations and warfare:

Defense Primer: Cyberspace Operations,

Defense Primer: Operations in the Information Environment, and

Use of Force in Cyberspace

Each of these reports deal with overlapping, yet separate looks at various aspects of cyber operations. All three were written by Catherine A. Theohary, a CRS Specialist in National Security Policy, Cyber and Information Operations. This allows for a certain level of coherency in the discussion that might not really reflect a coherent policy across the government.

Remembering that the purpose of the CRS is to provide information to Congress to inform the legislative process, it is interesting to note that that none of these three reports contains a discussion about how Congress can influence these cyber operations.


Another important topic that is essentially missing from these reports is a discussion about cyber-physical operations. While tangentially discussed in the ‘Use of Force in Cyberspace’ report, Theohary does not move past the discussion about cyber-physical equivalence, ignoring a discussion about the possible scope of cyber-physical actions and how they could influence or supplement conventional military operations.

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