This full story is found on MWI: Teaching Technology, Innovation, and Great Power Competition at Stanford, Part 4: Space and Cyber – Modern War Institute:

Editor’s note: Last fall, Stanford University hosted a brand-new class—Technology, Innovation, and Modern War. This year, the course is once again being taught by Steve BlankJoe Felter, and Raj Shah, but they have broadened the scope to examine how technology and innovation impact the whole-of-government approach necessary to successfully compete with great power rivals. Once again, Steve Blank is writing about each class session and offering MWI readers the opportunity to follow along with the new course. Read about previous sessions here.


Class Seven

We just completed the seventh week of our new national security class at Stanford—Technology, Innovation and Great Power Competition. Joe FelterRaj Shah, and I designed the class to cover how technology will shape the character and employment of all instruments of national power.

In previous classes, we covered the instruments of national power (and the DIME-FIL acronym used to refer to these instruments) and discussed how great power competition is playing out between the United States and both China and Russia. We then looked specifically at semiconductors as an example of how technology overlays on competition, before turning to artificial intelligence and autonomy.

Today’s class focuses on great power competition in space.

Class Seven Required Reading

The Cold War: Space Race 1.0

Space as a Domain

  • Lt. Gen. David “D.T.” Thompson, Col. Gregory J. Gagnon, and Maj. Christopher W. McLeod, “Space as a War-fighting Domain,” Air & Space Power Journal, Summer 2018.

Age of Great Power Competition: Space Race 2.0

America’s Space Forces

Space Threats and Nonstate Actors

Class Seven Guest Speaker

Our guest speaker was General John Raymond, the current and first US chief of space operations in the US Space Force. Space Force has three major commands—Space Operations CommandSpace Systems Command, and Space Training and Readiness Command.

The Space Force was born as a separate service in December 2019. Previously, General Raymond led the reestablishment of US Space Command as the eleventh US combatant command, and was for a year the head of both a service (Space Force) and a combatant command (Space Command).

Raymond said a focus for the Space Force is being lean and fast, innovative and unified.

Space was once considered “benign,” largely uninhabited except by the United States and the Soviet Union. Today it is far more crowded and dangerous. Raymond pointed out that the ability to operate in space is critical not only to protect US security, but also to power the US and global economy, as well as communications, transportation, and other essential functions of everyday life.

“Space is clearly a warfighting domain and we’re convinced that if deterrence were to fail,” he said, “we’re going to have to fight and win the battle for space superiority.”

Class Seven Lecture

If you can’t see the slides, click here.

Class Seven Lessons Learned

  • Our military depends on our assets in space (satellites) for communication, navigation, situational awareness (via photo, radar, and electronic intelligence satellites), warning, and targeting.
  • Our civilian economy also depends on space assets for GPS and communication.
  • Space is now a contested environment with China and Russia capable of disabling or destroying our satellites, using directed energy (lasers), cyber, electronic warfare, ground or space-based kinetic weapons.

Class Eight

We just completed the eighth week of our new national security class at Stanford—Technology, Innovation and Great Power Competition. Joe FelterRaj Shah and I designed the class to cover how technology will shape the character and employment of all instruments of national power.

In previous classes, we covered the instruments of national power (and the DIME-FIL acronym used to refer to these instruments) and discussed how great power competition is playing out between the United States and both China and Russia. We then looked specifically at semiconductors as an example of how technology overlays on competition, before turning to artificial intelligence and autonomy.

In class seven (above), we focused on space. Today the class turns its attention to cyber.

Class Eight Required readings

Case Study for Class

  • Suraj Srinivasan, Quinn Pitcher, and Jonah S. Goldberg, “Data Breach at EquifaxHarvard Business School, April 2019.

Competition in Cyber Space

Cyberattacks and Cyber Warfare

IP and Protected Personal Information Theft

Political Interference

Class Eight Guest Speaker

Dr. Michael Sulmeyer is a senior adviser at US Cyber Command. He was formerly the senior director for cyber at the National Security Council, the Cyber Project director at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, and the director, plans and operations, for cyber policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He previously worked on arms control and the maintenance of strategic stability between the United States, Russia, and China.

Cyber Command formed in 2010 and is one of the eleven unified combatant commands of the United States Department of Defense. It’s commanded by a four-star general, currently General Paul Nakasone, who is also the director of the National Security Agency and chief of the Central Security Service. It has three main missions: (1) defending DoD information systems, (2) supporting joint force commanders with cyberspace operations, and (3) defending the nation from significant cyberattacks.

Dr. Sulmeyer has written that a “focus on cyber-deterrence is understandable but misplaced. Deterrence aims to change the calculations of adversaries by persuading them that the risks of an attack outweigh the rewards or that they will be denied the benefits they seek. But in seeking merely to deter enemies, the United States finds itself constantly on the back foot. Instead, the United States should be pursuing a more active cyberpolicy, one aimed not at deterring enemies but at disrupting their capabilities. In cyberwarfare, Washington should recognize that the best defense is a good offense. . . .

“In countries where technology companies are willing to cooperate with the U.S. government (or with requests from their own government), a phone call to the right cloud provider or Internet service provider (ISP) could result in getting bad actors kicked off the Internet. . . .

“U.S. hackers could pursue a campaign of erasing computers at scale, disabling accounts and credentials used by hackers to attack, and cutting off access to services so it is harder to compromise innocent systems to conduct their attacks.”

Our national defense cyber policy has now moved to “persistent engagement.” Defending forward as close as possible to the origin of adversary activity extends our reach to expose adversaries’ weaknesses, learn their intentions and capabilities, and counter attacks close to their origins. Continuous engagement imposes tactical friction and strategic costs on our adversaries, compelling them to shift resources to defense and reduce attacks. We will pursue attackers across networks and systems to render most malicious cyber and cyber-enabled activity inconsequential while achieving greater freedom of maneuver to counter and contest dangerous adversary activity before it impairs our national power.

Class Eight Lecture

If you can’t see the slides, click here.

Class Eight Lessons Learned

  • Cyber Command’s role is to (1) defend DoD information systems, (2) support joint force commanders with cyberspace operations, and (3) defend the nation from significant cyberattacks.
  • Cyber Command has evolved from a reactive, defensive posture to a proactive posture called “persistent engagement.”

Steve Blank is the father of modern entrepreneurship, an entrepreneur-turned-educator, and founder of the lean startup movement. He is an adjunct professor at Stanford and a senior fellow for entrepreneurship at Columbia University.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the United States Military Academy, Department of the Army, or Department of Defense.

Image credit: Tech. Sgt. Robert Barnett, US Air Force

,Teaching Technology, Innovation, and Great Power Competition at Stanford, Part 4: Space and Cyber - Modern War Institute,https://mwi.usma.edu/teaching-technology-innovation-and-great-power-competition-at-stanford-part-4-space-and-cyber/

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