New Young Deep Cuts Policy Brief

Publication tackles risks arising at the cyber-nuclear nexus

In the latest Young Deep Cuts Policy Brief “'Hacking’ Away at Risks Arising at the Cyber-Nuclear Nexus”, Commissioners Grace Kier, Lindsay Rand and Tim Thies analyse the growing risks at the cyber-nuclear nexus. As Russia and the United States modernize their nuclear forces and the number of digital components grows, so does the area vulnerable to possible cyberattacks by adversaries. The authors suggest three ways – multilaterally, bilaterally, and unilaterally – that Moscow and Wahsington can cooperate in order to reduce the associated risks of nuclear escalation.

Firstly, the United States and Russia should promote discussions on nuclear doctrines taking into account the implications of cyber operations among the P5. China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States should jointly acknowledge the risks at the cyber-nuclear nexus. The authors further recommend launching bilateral consultations for the United States and Russia to gain a better understanding of the specific escalation mechanisms and enable decision-makers to exercise restraint in cyber operations. They should start by outlining and jointly evaluating existing internal risk assessment procedures for cyber operations. Lastly, Washington and Moscow should move from a Launch Under Attack (LUA) to a Decide Under Attack (DUA) launch posture, given the compounded risk of accidental escalation from cyber vulnerabilities of nuclear command, control, communications and intelligence (NC3I) and kinetic vulnerability of silo-based missiles.

Read the Policy Brief “’Hacking' Away at Risks Arising at the Cyber-Nuclear Nexus" here.

TheYoung Deep Cuts Commission (YDCC) is a group of twelve young arms control experts from Germany, Russia and the United States with diverse academic and professional backgrounds. The Young Commissioners develop fresh ideas to strengthen and revitalize nuclear arms control and disarmament. YDCC is part of the Deep Cuts project, an independent, nongovernmental initiative which provides decision-makers as well as the interested public with concrete policy options based on realistic analysis.


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