Conscio che al nostro Giovanni non farà piacere segnalo comunque una riflessione di Martin Libicki pubblicata dalla RAND Corporation e riguardante le capacità di deterrenza del cyberspazio: “Brandishing Cyberattack Capabilities“.
Lo studio è stato finanziato dal Dipartimento della Difesa statunitense e direi che ben si confà alle recenti vicende di Stuxnet e, soprattutto, alla “fuga” di notizie volta ad individuare negli Stati Uniti i responsabili del cyber-attacco alle infrastrutture nucleari iraniane. Scrive Libicki nelle conclusioni:
Brandishing a cyber capability would do three things: declare a capability, suggest the possibility of its use in a particular circumstance, and indicate that such use would really hurt. In the era of the U.S.-Soviet nuclear standoff, the suggestion of use was the most relevant. Possession was obvious, and its consequences were well understood. The same does not hold true for cyberweapons. Possession is likely not obvious, and the ability to inflict serious harm is debatable. Even if demonstrated, what worked yesterday may not work today. But difficult does not mean impossible.
Advertising cyberwar capabilities may be helpful. It may back up a deterrence strategy.
It might dissuade other states from conventional mischief or even from investing in mischiefmaking capabilities. It may reduce the other side’s confidence in the reliability of its information, command-and-control, or weapon systems. In a nuclear confrontation, it may help build the edge that persuades other states that the brandisher will stay the course, thereby persuading the other states to yield. Yet proving such capability is not easy, even if it exists. Cyber capabilities exist only in relationship to a specific target, which must be scoped to be understood. Cyber warriors can illustrate their ability to penetrate systems, but penetration is not the same as getting them to fail in useful ways. Since cyberattacks are essentially single-use weapons, they are diminished in the showing. It can be hard to persuade your friends that you have such capabilities when skepticism is in their interest. [...]
Conversely, the gains from brandishing such capabilities depend on the context and can be problematic even then. There is both promise and risk in cyber brandishing, in both the conventional and nuclear cases. It would not hurt to give serious thought to ways in which the United States can enhance its ability to leverage what others believe are national capabilities. Stuxnet has certainly convinced many others that the United States can do many sophisticated things in cyberspace (regardless of what, if anything, the United States actually contributed to Stuxnet). This effort will take considerable analysis and imagination, inasmuch as none of the various options presented here are obvious winners. That said, brandishing is an option that may also not work. It is no panacea, and it is unlikely to make a deterrence posture succeed if the other elements of deterrence (e.g., the will to wage war or, for red lines drawn in cyberspace, the ability to attribute) are weak.
Rimanendo sul tema delle dinamiche geopolitiche in Asia vi segnalo un breve paper che a gennaio è stato pubblicato dalla LSE Ideas, la quale sta emergendo sempre più come centro di eccellenza nel campo della riflessione strategica: “Japan and the US Pivot to the Asia Pacific“. L’autore è il nostro bravo Matteo Dian.
La legge americana prevede che ogni anno il Pentagono prepari, per il Congresso, un report di analisi sugli sviluppi militari e di sicurezza della Cina.
Ieri è stato presentato il rapporto 2013 che, a parere del sottoscritto, risulta particolarmente interessante. Non tanto per le valutazioni riguardanti la cyber-defense o il cyber-warfare che dir si voglia, peraltro subito evidenziati dalla stampa statunitense. Infatti, che le dinamiche di cyber-security tra Stati Uniti e Cina fossero dinamiche connesse soprattutto alla “preparazione del campo di battaglia” in vista di un futuro conflitto militare era cosa abbastanza chiara già da una decina d’anni. Per lo meno a chi, nell’analizzare gli aspetti cyber, non si limita ad un approccio tattico ed “ingegneristico”….
No, il documento di quest’anno è particolarmente interessante proprio per le valutazioni di carattere strategico, quelle riguardanti, cioè, obiettivi e strumenti della strategia di medio-lungo termine cinese.
The global order will orient more and more toward China as its authority grows. With China becoming wealthier and soon taking over the title of the world’s largest economy, other countries will have no choice but to turn toward Beijing.
Asia will remain the most critical region for China (as well as for global growth) in upcoming years. Beijing’s reach goes basically everywhere in Asia, especially in Southeast and Northeast Asia. And China is the biggest economic player in the region.
But this doesn’t mean that the United States will be going away anytime soon. The United States and Japan are allies and this impacts China’s options. China and Japan are economic competitors and there are still significant security tensions between them. Given the importance of both Japan and the United States, China needs to maintain good relations with them and be especially careful to avoid conflict. [...]
In un breve articolo di qualche giorno fa il commentatore del Financial Times, Gideon Rachman, espone correttamente i dilemmi cui si sta confrontando l’amministrazione americana in questi mesi, tra crisi in Medio Oriente e tentativi di “ribalanciamento” verso l’Asia.
Barack Obama is meant to be the most powerful man in the world. But it looks increasingly as though he may be dragged into a conflict in Syria, against his own better judgment.
The news that Bashar al-Assad’s regime might well have crossed America’s “red line” by using chemical weapons has ratcheted up the pressure on the president to act. There was already a debate in Washington about whether the US should provide weapons to the anti-Assad rebels. A confirmed use of chemical arms in Syria could well provoke a direct military response. [...]
If Mr Obama does end up sanctioning much more direct US involvement in the Syrian conflict, it will be a clear reversal of the grand strategy formed during his first term. This has three key elements. The first is to avoid new wars in the Middle East. The second is to “pivot to Asia” – concentrating US power on dealing with the most dynamic region of the world, rather than frittering away resources in the bloody backwaters of the Middle East. The final element is to rebuild America’s global strength through domestic economic and social reforms, concentrating on what the president calls “nation-building at home”. The new strategy was tried out in Libya, where the US let Britain and France take the military lead – a policy that gave birth to the phrase “leading from behind”. Yet, in the much more daunting environment of Syria, America’s European allies are incapable of taking the lead. Meanwhile, there is a recurrence of talk in Washington that Iran may be getting closer to another red line – over nuclear weapons – and that the US may also soon have to consider military action there. As the pressure over Syria and Iran rises, the Obama administration is struggling to maintain its strategic focus on Asia. Last week General Martin Dempsey, the head of the US joint chiefs of staff, was in Beijing. There was no shortage of regional security crises to discuss – from North Korea to the rising tensions between China and Japan. The real logic of the “pivot”, however, is long-term. The argument is that the Asia-Pacific region is increasingly the centre of the global economy. Unless the US provides strategic reassurance to its friends there – and makes it clear that it has the determination and resources to remain a central power in east Asia – China’s sheer economic weight will mean that the world’s most dynamic region gradually becomes a Chinese sphere of influence. Any contest for power and influence between the US and China will ultimately rest on the relative strengths of the two economies. That strengthens the case that – after a decade of war and a financial crisis – America must now concentrate on rebuilding its economy. This indeed is the argument of Richard Haass, head of the influential Council on Foreign Relations whose new book is: Foreign Policy Begins at Home. [...]
U.S. intelligence agencies traced a recent cyber intrusion into a sensitive infrastructure database to the Chinese government or military cyber warriors, according to U.S. officials.
The compromise of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ National Inventory of Dams (NID) is raising new concerns that China is preparing to conduct a future cyber attack against the national electrical power grid, including the growing percentage of electricity produced by hydroelectric dams.
According to officials familiar with intelligence reports, the Corps of Engineers’ National Inventory of Dams was hacked by an unauthorized user believed to be from China, beginning in January and uncovered earlier this month. The database contains sensitive information on vulnerabilities of every major dam in the United States. There are around 8,100 major dams across waterways in the United States. [...]
Questo evento, assieme a molti altri, fa sorgere il timore che il fine di tali attività di spionaggio cibernetico sia la raccolta di informazioni su vulnerabilità e criticità di un sistema di infrastrutture critiche nazionali allo scopo di attaccarle in caso di conflitto:
Michelle Van Cleave, the former National Counterintelligence Executive, a senior counterintelligence policymaker, said the database compromise highlights the danger posed by hackers who are targeting critical U.S. infrastructure for future attacks. “In the wrong hands, the Army Corps of Engineers’ database could be a cyber attack roadmap for a hostile state or terrorist group to disrupt power grids or target dams in this country,” Van Cleave said in an email. [...] Van Cleave said the intrusion appears to be part of an effort to collect “vulnerability and targeting data” for future cyber or military attacks.
Il nuovo numero di Foreign Policy affronta il tema del potere e delle “persone che realmente guidano il mondo“. Tra queste – lo 0,000007% della popolazione mondiale – la rivista statunitense colloca anche 9 italiani. Ovviamente, in assoluto, la quota più importante va agli Stati Uniti (143 persone). Circa i due terzi sono “occidentali” (Europa+Nord America+Australia) mentre Cina (38), Russia (24) ed India (17) inseguono…