Article: Assessing Cyber Power

This paper aims to contribute to the debate regarding quantitative and qualitative appreciation of cyber power. It will do so by (1) deriving a thorough foundation for the cyber power discussion from the 20th century power debate, then (2) presenting a comprehensive framework for analysing (cyber) power and lastly (3) position cyber capacities within this framework.

Revamping the 20th century power discussion is necessary as the current cyber power debate focuses much on the ‘means’ component of power (e.g. DDoS capacity, network infrastructure spending, malware acquisition budgets, etc.). This view on power is very similar to the pre-World War Two approach to assessing power. The power theorists, however, have shied away from this approach as it proved to be too narrow. Primarily because it failed to capture why a more resourceful actor sometimes fails to ascertain its objectives or preferred outcomes vis-à-vis a smaller actor (e.g. the United States experience in Vietnam).

Thus, in order to fill this lacuna, this paper offers a more comprehensive approach to power, including all dimensions of (cyber) power, being: scope, domain, weight, costs and means.

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