The United States Cyber Command: International Restrictions vs. Manifest Destiny

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Volume 12, Online Edition (Jun 2012)

At this time, it is not in the best interest of the United States to adopt, join, or participate in any international treaty resembling a cyberspace extension of the existing “conventional” international laws of warfare. With the activation of the United States Cyber Command, the United States has begun to take the necessary steps to ensure better international cyberspace compliance. The high technology and resource thresholds present in conventional warfare provide warning signs which allow nations to monitor each other for treaty compliance and provide time for measures, such as sanctions, to halt any non-compliant behavior. Cyberwarfare, on the other hand, exposes nations to virtually limitless sudden and immediate attacks, without providing these similar warnings. The advent of cyber-attacks in warfare illustrates how technology can suddenly advance so far and so quickly that the framework of prior treaties is completely inadequate in handling these technological advances. However, lessons learned from prior treaties, notably the series of chemical warfare treaties, can guide the United States’ pursuit of peace through this next technological hurdle. Finally, because of the need to secure its leadership in cyberspace, the United States must currently operate efficiently and effectively without the hindrances of an international treaty.

Tod M. Leaven & Christopher E. Dodge, The United States Cyber Command: International Restrictions vs. Manifest Destiny, 12 N.C. J.L. & Tech. On. 1 (2010),

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