Academic progress in cybersecurity studies from a social sciences perspective has been slow. In order to develop as a field, it needs a methodological framework, more developed theories, and collaboration that transcends disciplinary boundaries.
Born in the 1990s, the thinking on cyber deterrence was nurtured by the U.S. Department of Defense in numerous war-gaming exercises. Hitting puberty in the aftermath of the distributed denial-of-service campaign against Estonia in 2007, cyber deterrence matured after Stuxnet and received peak attention from policymakers and academics from 2013 to 2016 during the golden age of ‘cyberwar’ scholarship. From 2016 onward, the interest in cyber deterrence started to fade to the extent that it is now intentionally neglected. The figure below captures this short life cycle by quantitatively visualizing the number of articles, book chapters, and research reports written on ‘cyber deterrence’ and ‘cyberdeterrence’ between January 1990 and January 2020.
On 23-24 November, colleagues from our parent organization, the Center for Security Studies (CSS), hosted a two-day conference entitled International Peacekeeping in Africa: Actors and Missions. The event brought together an assortment of academics and practitioners to discuss a broader range of issues than the conference’s title suggests. And since the majority of the sessions were by-invitation only, today we would like to present a series of brief podcasts that summarize some of the research topics raised and discussed at the conference.
Under the co-sponsorship and patronage our colleagues at the Center for Security Studies (CSS), the biennial International Disaster and Risk Conference (IDRC) is making a welcome return to Switzerland. IDRC Davos 2012 will take place from 26 August to 30 August and will bring together the world’s leading risk and disaster experts to discuss a multitude of resiliency-related problems confronting global society.
In particular, IDRC Davos 2012 will provide its participants with expert analyses and opinions from the public and private sectors, international organizations, individual researchers and other risk and disaster practitioners. Plenary sessions will cover a host of topics ranging from urban risks and resilience to risks confronting the agricultural sector. The conference will also host a number of parallel sessions, poster presentations and training courses. Exhibitors include the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection, the United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR) and the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Reduction (PEDDR).
The event organizers – the Global Risk Forum – expect to attract 1,000 participants from 100 countries. And as the CSS will have a presence at IDRC Davos 2012, we at the ISN thought this would be an ideal opportunity to report on the highlights of this conference and some of the issues shaping risk and disaster management. Accordingly, in early September we will be discussing some of the key findings from IDRC Davos 2012 with Timothy Prior, who is a Senior Researcher within the CSS’s Risk and Resilience Research Group.
Asia’s rise as a locus of international financial and economic power only increases the need to better understand how changes in important structural factors impact security dynamics. In that context, the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses held its 14th annual Asian Security Conference in New Delhi this month. The goal of the gathering, entitled “Nontraditional Security Challenges – Today and Tomorrow,” is “to capture the complex issues involved in Asia’s emergence as the new locus of international affairs in the 21st century and India’s emergence as a factor in the continent’s evolving economic, political and security dynamics.”
The IDSA, an ISN Partner, is an Indian think tank devoted to the study of global strategic and security issues. The organization is funded by the Indian Ministry of Defense, but functions autonomously. It has brought together academics, policy analysts, and officials from government and multilateral organizations, from various Asian countries as well as other parts of the world every year since 1999 to debate upon issues pertaining to Asian affairs.
Opening remarks at the conference were made by IDSA Director General Dr. Arvind Gupta, with a keynote address by Shri Shivshankar Menon, the national Security Advisor to the Indian prime minister. A special address was given by Roza Otunbayeva, former president of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. This meeting addressed the issues of water security, climate change, natural disasters, energy security, transnational crime, and financial and economic security. Each of these challenges has a related impact on food, water and energy resources, as well as implications for national economies and the movement of people, all of which fall between the short- and long-term and consequently are contributing factors to traditional security threats.
The IDSA is at the forefront of an effort to narrow the perception gap between about the relationship between non-traditional and traditional security issues. The hosting of this conference by an India-based organization is highlighted by the fact that India sits at the cross-roads of several important gateways to global power centers: including for energy, economic and trade hubs, sea lanes of communication, and maritime power. This point was highlighted by Ajit Doval in the closing plenary session of the 2011 ISF here in Zurich. Certainly in the case of Asia, the emergence of new threats and the changing context of regional security issues will increasingly become the centerpiece of policy and research agendas around the world.