Are we over-relying on technology? Unmanned drones provide a plethora of advantages on the battlefield. But at the end of the day, drones are only a tactic, not a strategy. Do we run the risk of using technology’s advantages as a crutch that prevents us from developing a meaningful strategy?
In cyberspace, what amounts to an act of war? If a cyber-attack disables infrastructure or steals intellectual property, how is that different than a conventional military attack? We must develop clear standards about the proportionality of response to a non-conventional attack.
Should the government start viewing cyberspace as a battlefield? Governments take authority over land, air, space and sea. But we still tend to view cyberspace as a commodity. Are we essentially ceding ground to potential enemies by not more vigilantly patrolling cyberspace?
Jean-Paul Paloméros, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, NATO
“Men and women are really our force multipliers now, but they rely on information.”
“Drones require a lot of good skilled individuals just to use them. Somewhere in the loop there is a man, a skill, a commander, and many more people than is the case to operate a single system.”
“As we come into the information sphere we must take into account not only the systems, but the users and providers. Users are skilled people who are able to understand information, put it in context and transform information into intelligence. Only if we master information can we properly inform the decision-making process.”
“We shouldn’t overreact, and we must remind ourselves that cyber security is first and foremost the responsibility of each nation. We have an alliance responsible for global defense, but each nation is responsible for its own security.”
Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, Public Safety Canada
“The evolution of the concerns happens so quickly—and the bombing of the Twin Towers is an example. We never even thought of that possibility. And I think the same is true in the cyber world.”
“We also have to look at where the threat is emanating from. The situation in Lebanon, where Lebanon may not actually control areas, how fair would it be to retaliate against a city or community in Lebanon when it may be only a criminal act. But in situations where the central government has fuller control, there is responsibility for one country to approach another country and say there is a threat emanating from within your borders, and you have responsibility for determining that.”
“This conversation about drones, I don’t see the legal or moral implications as different than a manned aircraft. There is still damage done with a manned aircraft. I simply see the drone as a technological development, but it doesn’t relieve us of any moral or legal responsibilities.”
Rafal Rohozinski, Principal and Chief Executive Officer, The SecDev Group
“Do we currently have situational awareness in cyberspace the way we do in air, land, sea and space? The answer is no.”
“I think we have to recognize that secrecy as part of military operations is a necessity. Political decision-making about the goals of those operations—that requires transparency.”
“The ability to generate data from vast distributed services, to aggregate and correlate and share it effectively was a huge advancement. It was responsible for interrupting IED networks in Iraq before they could form.”
Elisa Massimino, President and Chief Executive Officer, Human Rights First
“Because the technology is advancing so quickly, this is technology the bad guys will have very, very soon. So we need to be very clear on what we consider a threshold for retaliation.”
“One of the questions people ask in the context of a cyber attack is, can this be an act of war that triggers the laws of war or self-defense? I think it’s a pretty clear answer: It does.”
“Drones in a way are like a lawn mower. You have to keep using it or your grass keeps growing. It’s a tactic, not a strategy.”
“Keep the human judgment in the loop. All of our rules depend on having accountability. You’re not going to blame Dave the Computer.”
Mohammed Abu Lahoum, Head, Justice and Building Party, Yemen
“What worries us most is that collateral damage caused can be a serious problem. Use the drone but don’t overuse it…But I would still prefer to see drones than boots on the ground.”
“Intelligence has to be very precise and very accurate. You don’t just go in and strike in an area where you’d create more mess than you’re eliminating.”