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Research Report

America’s Cyber Future: Security and Prosperity in the Information Age

Kristin M. Lord
Travis Sharp
Robert E. Kahn
Mike McConnell
Joseph S. Nye
Peter Schwartz
Nova J. Daly
Nathaniel Fick
Martha Finnemore
Richard Fontaine
Daniel E. Geer
David A. Gross
Jason Healey
James A. Lewis
Kristin M. Lord
M. Ethan Lucarelli
Thomas G. Mahnken
Gary McGraw
Roger H. Miksad
Gregory J. Rattray
Will Rogers
Christopher M. Schroeder
Travis Sharp
Copyright Date: Jun. 1, 2011
Pages: 64

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 1-2)
  2. (pp. 3-4)
  3. (pp. 5-6)
  4. (pp. 7-10)
    Kristin M. Lord and Travis Sharp
  5. (pp. 11-12)

    Over the past 20 years, the Internet has become integral to American life. Nearly 80 percent of American adults now use the Internet. Of those users, 94 percent access email, 75 percent seek news and 67 percent visit a government website – activities that bolster social ties and civic participation.¹ The economic importance of the Internet is enormous, contributing 6,500 dollars per capita to America’s gross domestic product each year.² The centrality of the Internet is also growing globally, with the number of users worldwide topping two billion as of December 2010.³

    Regrettably, the very openness that allowed the Internet...

  6. (pp. 12-19)

    Cyber security is vital to protecting and advancing America’s national interests. As articulated in the 2010 U.S. National Security Strategy, which reaffirmed long-standing priorities in American foreign policy, these interests include:

    The security of the United S • tates, its citizens, and its allies and partners.

    A strong, innovative and growing U.S. economy in an open international economic system that promotes opportunity and prosperity.

    Respect for universal values at home and around the world.10

    Increasingly, America’s ability to achieve these interests depends on reliable and secure access to the Internet, which is “a network that magnifies the power and potential...

  7. (pp. 20-31)

    The ability to leverage cyberspace is one of the 21st century’s most important sources of power. State and non-state actors can use this power to achieve financial, military, political, ideological or social objectives in cyberspace or the physical world. These objectives can be positive and contribute to the greater good, or they can be nefarious and harm innocent people. Like most technologies, cyberspace is agnostic to politics and ideology.

    Cyber power is attractive to powerful and less powerful actors alike because of its low relative cost, high potential impact and general lack of transparency. Powerful actors such as the United...

  8. (pp. 31-36)

    Building on the work of the Bush and Clinton administrations, the Obama administration has stressed the severity of cyber threats and worked diligently to strengthen America’s cyber security. Its notable achievements include conducting a 60-day Cyberspace Policy Review, creating U.S. Cyber Command, elevating the role of DHS, increasing funding for key programs, and unveiling the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace and an international cyberspace strategy. The administration also appointed a White House cybersecurity coordinator who has regular access to the president and works closely with the economic and national security teams.

    Despite this progress, the U.S. government must...

  9. (pp. 37-50)

    The United States must capitalize on the opportunities and diminish the vulnerabilities presented by its growing reliance on cyberspace. This will require the U.S. government to exercise strong leadership, engage the private sector more effectively and develop new strategies, policies and capabilities. The U.S. government must lead internationally and domestically since solutions require focused cooperation among all relevant stakeholders. Based on our assessment of interests and threats, we recommend that the U.S. government implement the following policies.

    The U.S. government should adopt a strategy that promotes the safety and security of cyberspace and endeavors to stop malicious activity from imperiling...

  10. (pp. 51-51)

    Just as perfect security eludes us in the physical world, there is not and never will be perfect security in cyberspace. America’s goal, therefore, should be to minimize risks at an acceptable cost and enable the continued advances that the information age has heralded thus far.

    This is no easy endeavor. Every day, more users exchange more data on more devices, creating ever more reliance on the Internet. American companies depend on the Internet for growth and the U.S. military depends on networked communication for its most important operations.

    Yet as Daniel Geer, a contributor to Volume II, has noted,...

  11. (pp. 52-60)
  12. (pp. 61-62)