On Monday, July 15, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative (CSI) of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a roundtable moderated by Jason Healey, director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative, exploring the convergence of computer network operations (cyber) and electronic warfare (EW). Gathering active military and industry experts, the group examined calls from senior leaders in both the Navy and Army to merge cyber operations with electronic warfare.

The proliferation of wireless technology has moved cyber into the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum traditionally dominated in the military context by electronic warfare. Though cyber extends beyond the EM spectrum into wires, the two disciplines are becoming ever more intertwined and interdependent. However, cyber capabilities manage information, whereas electronic warfare deals with energy. Additionally, cyberspace is not strictly a military realm—the significant civilian presence and involvement with cyberspace raises concerns about the political and social ramifications of merging cyber with electronic warfare.

The group addressed several key questions—does every service need its own cyber force? How do we define the role of cyber and electronic warfare in broader military strategy? How do we leverage the expertise of one domain to gain advantage in the other? The lively discussion exposed the continued need for public conversations about cyber, a domain often shrouded in technical mystique and outright secrecy.

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