Away from the Keyboard? The Challenges of Command and Control over Cyber Operations



Date and Time

March 7, 2013 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


CISAC Conference Room

FSI Contact

Alison Epstein

ABOUT THE TOPIC: Nearly all scholars writing about the potential for cyber war conclude that states, assumed to be unitary rational actors, are unlikely to use offensive cyber capabilities. What happens if we relax this assumption, look inside the "black boxes," and study how political actors within states make cyber strategy choices? Many mechanisms from the political science literature on causes of war not only apply, but are exacerbated by the material qualities of information technology. In this presentation, Tim tests two theoretical approaches -- principal-agent problems and normal accidents -- and concludes that variation in civil-military relations and bureaucratic preferences have strong potential to lead states to rational or inadvertent escalation in response to cyber attack. These arguments are especially powerful in an international system with a high density of computer network interactions; if the number of states with advanced cyber capabilities grows, the potential for bellicose mechanisms to operate almost certainly will increase at a highly non-linear rate. ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Tim Junio is a predoctoral fellow at CISAC and doctoral candidate of political science at the University of Pennsylvania (degree expected May 2013). His research is on information technology and national security. His dissertation focuses on cyber warfare strategy, and how variation in domestic politics -- particularly stemming from principal-agent problems and bounded rationality -- may cause bureaucracies or leaders to use offensive cyber capabilities. Tim is testing his theories with comparative fieldwork on how the United States, South Korea, and Taiwan produce and project cyber power. In his spare time, Tim develops new cyber capabilities at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Before beginning his PhD studies, Tim received his MA from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), concentrating in Strategic Studies and International Economics, and his BA from Johns Hopkins' undergraduate program in International Studies. He worked on cyber security strategy and analysis for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, RAND Corporation, US intelligence community, and Johns Hopkins' Information Security Institute.