Defending Cyberspace is for Losers

Whether the US is prepared or not to fight in the cyberspace domain is irrelevant, said Lani Kass Wednesday, because we have no choice but to fight. Kass, a special assistant to the chief of staff and a key architect of the Air Force’s new Cyber Command, told attendees at AFA’s Air and Space Conference that cyberspace is the “fifth war fighting domain”—alongside air, space, land, and sea. What makes this new domain so significant is the simple fact that the delivery of effects from this arena are disproportionate to investment, Kass emphasized. In other words, the bad guys know they don’t need to invest a lot to cause a lot of damage. She added that war in the electromagnetic spectrum, like the employment of airpower, favors offense far more than defense. “If you do not dominate in cyberspace, you cannot conduct air and space operations … and even much of daily life,” Kass said. In her view, “If you are defending, you are late; defense in cyberspace is a loser’s game.”