Publication:
RUSSIAN CYBER OPERATIONS TO DESTABILIZE NATO

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Authors
Christian, Joshua D.
Subjects
Russia
NATO
cyber
cyberattack
cyber operation
critical infrastructure
disinformation
grand strategy
gray zone
Advisors
Jasper, Scott E.
Date of Issue
2020-06
Date
Publisher
Monterey, CA; Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
Cyber operations are constantly evolving as states discover new tactics to achieve strategic goals. Thus far, they have remained below the threshold for armed conflict by operating within the gray zone. Since 2008, Russia has demonstrated a preference for using cyber operations with the primary goal to weaken enemies of the state and achieve strategic objectives delineated in Russian grand strategy. This thesis examines the intersection between Russian cyber operations and grand strategy to weaken NATO. Russian grand strategy attempts to strengthen its position as a world power, in part, by utilizing cyber operations as a tool to destabilize adversaries. Specifically, their cyber operations fundamentally changed the way information is disseminated to sow discord in NATO societies, with the ultimate goal of sabotaging elections and democratic processes. Russian cyber operations also attempt to destabilize the security of NATO member states through cyberattacks against critical infrastructure. Russia’s advances to grow its power have put it on a path to directly challenge the regional power balance with itself, NATO, and other European states. Russia’s hegemonic goals and threat perceptions of NATO as a potential cyber target are critical developments to recognize and respond to present and future cyber operations. It is essential that NATO policymakers understand the ramifications of these cyber operations in order to preserve NATO security and stability.
Type
Thesis
Description
Series/Report No
Department
National Security Affairs (NSA)
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NPS Report Number
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Distribution Statement
Approved for public release. distribution is unlimited
Rights
This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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