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Cyberweapons: Bold Steps in a Digital Darkness?

Cyberweapons: Bold Steps in a Digital Darkness?

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The following piece was originally published in on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

by  R. Scott Kemp

R. Scott Kemp is an associate research scholar with the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Before this, he was science advisor in the Office of the Special Advisor to the Secretary for Nonproliferation and Arms Control at the State Department. He was the State Department’s resident centrifuge expert and developed negotiating packages for Iran. At Princeton, Kemp is a research advisor to the International Panel on Fissile Materials. He also serves on the American Physical Society’s Panel on Public Affairs.

In 1945, the United States organized a committee to investigate whether nuclear weapons should become a central military technology, or whether to abjure the weapons and, through self-restraint, avoid a costly and potentially deadly nuclear arms race. Led by Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson and Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority David Lilienthal, the committee produced the eponymous Acheson-Lilienthal Report, which, after it failed to gather reasonable support, marked a turning point in the Cold War and signaled the beginning of the nuclear arms race. Almost 70 years later, we find ourselves at a similar juncture with cyberwarfare. Cyber weapons do not appear to be capable of mass destruction in the way nuclear weapons clearly are, but they hold at risk some of the most precious assets of our time: the information storage and control mechanisms on which modern society has been built.

You can read this piece in its entirety here: