Professor Paul Cornish
will speak on "Connection, Communication and Conversation: Shaping a Strategic Ecology for Cyberspace
", at the Australian National University in Canberra, 5.45pm, 12 November 2013.
Connection, Communication and Conversation: Shaping a Strategic Ecology for Cyberspace
Speaker: Professor Paul Cornish
Date: Tuesday 12 November 2013
Time: 5.45pm – 7.00pm, refreshments served from 5.15pm
Register: Register here
expanding global communication infrastructure brings with it the
possibility of a worldwide conversation across all dimensions and at all
levels of human life. In most of the cases of human interaction,
customs, protocols and ‘rules of the road’ emerge with usage. Where
government interactions are concerned, however, there is a tendency to
revert to established ideas and methods with which to stabilise and then
manage competitive strategic relations – often those drawn from the
Yet, while cyberspace should indeed be managed as an arena of
human interaction and contestation, more thought is needed as to how
this can be achieved in an efficient and durable manner. The relaxation
of cyber tensions between China and the West, for example, will not come
as a result of a technological fix of some sort, and nor will it lie in
a Cold War-style strategic stand-off.
The current strategic narrative is dominated by mistrust, by
claims of espionage, crime and terrorism, by rumours of worse to come
and by disagreement over the basic terms of debate. Cyberspace appears
to be a lawless frontier in which each actor operates according to the
rules he prefers. Consequently, the governance of cyberspace is in a
state of arrested development.
A strategic ecology for cyberspace is needed: a sense of
cyberspace as a rule-bound political environment in which the scope and
limitations of interaction can be discussed, in which trade-offs and
compromise are made possible, and in which mutual interest can be
pursued. Above all, this ecology should correspond more closely to the
digital environment of the 21st century than to the missile environment
of the 20th.
Paul Cornish is Professor of Strategic Studies at the University
of Exeter, having previously been Carrington Professor of International
Security at Chatham House. He has taught at the UK Defence Academy and
at the University of Cambridge, and has served in the British Army and
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. His work covers national strategy,
cyber security, the ethics of armed conflict and civil-military
relations. He is a member of the UK Chief of Defence Staff’s Strategic
Advisory Panel, a Fellow of Oxford University’s Global Cyber Security
Capacity-Building Centre, and a Senior Associate Fellow of the Royal
United Services Institute.
The National Security College is a joint initiative of the Commonwealth Government and ANU.
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