Cyberspace is a kind of collective good, even a global public good. It also means that access to, if not command of, this new commons is essential for America’s power in the world, and that cyberspace must be defended against state and nonstate threateners.
David Ronfeldt is on a roll here, and his longer blog entry is extremely rich in links to current thinking on p2p warfare, both official and unofficial.
An excerpt below, but go to the original article for the links. Or here.
“Meanwhile, a curious new trend in strategic thinking is growing, parallel to these developments: a claim that cyberspace is as much a part of the global commons as air, sea, and outer space. This means that cyberspace is a kind of collective good, even a global public good. It also means that access to, if not command of, this new commons is essential for America’s power in the world, and that cyberspace must be defended against state and nonstate threateners. According to its early proponents, Michèle Flournoy and Shawn Brimley (2008, p. 136), “America must take a leadership role to ensure that access to the global commons remains a public good.” They have recently expanded on this theme as Pentagon officials.
Declaring a domain to be strategic commons eases the way for asserting public over private interests. And that may have all sorts of implications. It might help with efforts to foster a “multi-partner world,” as Secretary Clinton urges. But it might also lead to a “cyber Monroe doctrine” or help justify unleashing an “af.mil botnet” (insensibly?) under other circumstances. Whatever the circumstances abroad, declaring cyberspace a strategic commons would surely bolster the organizational clout of cybersecurity officials within the U.S. government and over the private sector.
If/as this notion gains sway, it will surely generate controversy. Adam Elkus sees some Mahanesque qualities, but also that the “fluid and dispersed nature of cyberspace makes it impossible for one power to dominate.” Tim Stevens urges that cyberspace is too social to be viewed as a military commons : “cyberspace is not simply a strategic ‘domain’ like the sea or the air.” More to the point, a social movement is taking shape that views the information commons as a new realm for peer-to-peer social development; and it is sure to raise objections to a strategic military concept of this commons.”