Cross-Domain Deterrence

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Deterrence as a strategy and doctrine was effectively deployed by the United States during the Cold War. Today states face a widening range of destabilizing threats, in particular to space, cyberspace, financial, and other critical infrastructure. The interconnectedness of the contemporary world creates many new opportunities for state or non-state adversaries to seek asymmetric advantages against advanced industrial countries, including the United States. Technological and political complexity generates tremendous uncertainty, undermining in one stroke both the simple logic of the basic deterrence frameworks applied in the previous era and also the credibility of such efforts. “Cross domain deterrence” (CDD) seeks to counter threats in one arena (such as space or cyber warfare) by relying on different types of capabilities (such as sea power or nuclear weapons, or even non-military tools such as access to markets or normative regimes) where deterrence may be more effective. The increasing complexity of CDD poses both opportunities and challenges that necessitate, and will benefit from, a major evolution in thinking about how deterrence operates.

This research is sponsored by the Department of Defense Minerva Initiative. The Principal Investigators are Erik Gartzke, Professor of Political Science at UC San Diego, and Jon Lindsay, Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Co-Investigators include Michael Nacht, UC Berkeley; Celeste Matarazzo and Peter Barnes, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and Joseph Pilat, Los Alamos National Laboratory.