Fri, Sep 6, 2019

Alternate cybersecurity futures

Report by John Watts, Ben Jensen, JD Work, Nina Kollars, and Chris Whyte


While cyberspace continues to enable tremendous commercial, humanitarian, and national security opportunities, it also breeds an expanded threat landscape of massive complexity. As innovation and new vulnerabilities emerge apace, responses to novel problems have remained reactive. A joint report by the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and Emergent Futures Lab challenges this moribund thinking by developing three Alternate Cybersecurity Futures, scenarios to provide insight into what the future may look like and how policy can move from adaptation to critically urgent evolution. These futures are meant to spark a strategic dialogue and we hope others will expand upon and between them.

What happens when new players enter the digital battlespace and the tempo for counter-cyber operations increases drastically? Check out scenario #1 to see how this future could play out.

Will states or industry drive AI development? Will the internet remain open or fragmented? Scenario #2 lays out how these possibilities may impact national security.

What happens when public access to global internet content is fractured and social media expands as a means of political influence? Scenario #3 paints that picture.