Joss Meakins (MARS '17) Authors Report on Russia's Approach to Cyber Deterrence for the European Leadership Network

Friday, October 19, 2018

Harriman alumnus Joss Meakins (MARS 2017) authored the report "Living in (Digital) Denial: Russia's Approach to Cyber Deterrence" for the European Leadership Network. 

In an era of ever more alarming cyberattacks, Western policymakers are increasingly looking to the concept of ‘cyber deterrence’ as a force for stability. Understood as the ability to dissuade enemy attacks through the credible threat of retaliation, deterrence looms large in discussions of Russian cyberattacks. However, for such a deterrence relationship to work, it must at least be tacitly accepted by the other side. Yet the Russian strategic community currently appears highly critical of cyber deterrence, with many officials and experts deriding the concept as unworkable.
This report examines key Russian theoretical objections, alongside Russia’s practical, albeit partial, implementation of the concept. Indeed, in spite of sustained criticism, the Russian position on cyber deterrence has in some ways come to mirror that of the West.