On July 10, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and the Cyber Conflict Studies Association (CCSA) held a launch event and discussion of CCSA’s new capstone report, Addressing Cyber Instability, which previewed the CCSA’s forthcoming monograph on instability in cyber conflict.

As the CCSA report discusses, cyberspace is an inherently unstable national security domain. Its fundamental characteristics—such as the low cost of entry, abundant access points, and the difficulty of attribution—alter traditional power calculations. This enables non-state actors to wage proxy warfare on cyber battlefields, beyond national accountability or control. The vulnerability of national critical infrastructure endangers whole civilian populations, and places private enterprises on the front lines. Additionally, the absence of international norms and comparatively low costs of cyber attacks create incentives for nations to launch preemptive strikes in a coercive attempt to forestall more traditional kinetic conflict. In such an unstable environment, the consequences of misinterpreted signals between nations may be catastrophic.

The principal editors of the volume discussed this cyber instability and its implications for the future of cyberspace, and made key recommendations for future US and international cyber policy. The panel participants examineD the implications of an unstable environment in cyberspace for purposes of long-term strategy, military operations, domestic and international law, risk management, and other aspects of national security.



Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • JASON HEALEY, Director, Cyber Statecraft Initiative, Atlantic Council
Stability and Instability in National Security

  • JAMES MULVENON, Chairman, Cyber Conflict Studies Association (CCSA); Vice President, Defense Group, Inc.
Instability in the Cyber Environment

  • GREGORY RATTRAY, President, Cyber Conflict Studies Association (CCSA); CEO and Founding Partner, Delta Risk, LLP
Panel Discussion: Addressing Cyber Instability

  • KRIS MARTEL, Senior Cyber Security Architect, Intelligent Decisions
  • MICHAEL MULVILLE, Cyber Executive, Cisco Systems
  • Moderated by JASON HEALEY


This panel was made possible by the generous support of Cisco and Intelligent Decisions.