The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
The speaker is an expert on the economics and management of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons programs, having served as Director of the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project for The Brookings Institution from 1994 to 1998. Atomic Audit—the book produced by the Project—remains one of the few authoritative studies of the subject.
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