In the modern era, there is great convergence in the technologies used by friendly nations and by hostile ones. Signals intelligence agencies find themselves penetrating the technologies that they also at times must protect. To ease this tension, the United States and its partners have relied on an approach sometimes called Nobody But Us, or NOBUS: target communications mechanisms using unique methods accessible only to the United States. This paper examines how the NOBUS approach works, its limits, and the challenging matter of what comes next.
Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo. She has previously been a Junior Faculty Fellow at CISAC, Stanford University, and a pre- and post-doctoral fellow at the Belfer Center, Harvard University. She received her doctoral degree from London School of Economics in 2009, which received the Michael Nicholson Thesis Prize from BISA in 2010. She recently published Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya failed to build nuclear weapons (Cornell University Press, 2016), which was reviewed in The New York Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, Survival, International Affairs, HDiplo, Babylon, and Internasjonal Politikk. Her work has been published in International Security, The Middle East Journal, the New York Times (online), International Herald Tribune, Monkey Cage and War on the Rocks.