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Strategic Cultures of Cyber Warfare

Project description

Why some countries develop offensive cyber capabilities

Secure network and information systems can protect us from cyberattacks. However, the growing use of and dependence on information and communication technologies poses both risks and opportunities for cyber defences. Amidst an emerging digital arms race, the EU is increasingly cooperating in cyber defence to be able to respond to and deter offensive cyber actors. In this context, the EU-funded CYBERCULT project will study the development and use of offensive cyber capabilities (OCC) by western powers, namely France, Israel and the United States. It will also review the cultural, socio-political, historical and ideational factors involved. Focusing on these countries as well as Estonia, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, it will explore the perceptions of OCC.


CYBERCULT is a project that examines why and how western states are developing Offensive Cyber Capabilities (OCC): human, technical and virtual tools to disrupt, destroy and exploit computer systems. CYBERCULT has three core objectives. First, it will establish a Strategic Culture-based theoretical concept that explains the development and use of OCC by western powers. This concept will move beyond rationalist and materialist explanations of OCC processes and consider the influence of Strategic Culture on OCC adoption, including the socio-political, historical, and perceptual/ideational factors involved. This will be achieved through a theory-building phase involving an Interdisciplinary Workshop on OCC, a literature review on Strategic Culture and new technologies, and sustained interaction with leading Strategic Culture academics. Second, CYBERCULT will produce a data set on perceptions of OCC in eight countries that are connected to the western alliance system: the US, Israel, France, Germany, the UK, Estonia, Japan and New Zealand. The data set will be based on an analysis of surveys sent out to cyber policymakers and practitioners in the eight countries. Third, CYBERCULT will produce an in-depth comparative analysis of OCC adoption in three of the world's leading cyber powers: the US, Israel, and France. This will be based on primary and secondary sources and twenty interviews with scholars, government officials, and cyber industry representatives in each of the three countries. CYBERCULT will have sustained links to policymaking and industry and will help to inform fast-moving cyber security processes in the EU and NATO, including the EU Cyber Security Strategy and NATO Cyber Defence Policy. CYBERCULT will be hosted by Recherche et Etudes en Politique Internationale (REPI), Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium). The key deliverables are a journal article, a book, three policy briefs, and two working papers.


Net EU contribution
€ 166 320,00
1050 Bruxelles / Brussel

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Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/ Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Arr. de Bruxelles-Capitale/Arr. Brussel-Hoofdstad
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 166 320,00