Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

National Cyber Power Index 2022

| September 2022


From Eric Rosenbach, Belfer Center Co-Director and former Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Defense

The Belfer Center’s mission is to provide leadership to advance critical policy-relevant knowledge of important international security issues. The release of the National Cyber Power Index in 2022 does just that. Over the past two years, the NCPI has catalysed conversations and debate between policymakers, academia, and industry on the concept of cyber power and how states are and can further harness their capabilities to enhance their overall ability to achieve national objectives.

Harnessing a state’s cyber power requires a whole-of-nation approach. National governments should not just be concerned about destructive operations, espionage, or enhancing its cyber resilience, but also other state’s efforts at surveillance, information control, technology competition, financial motivations, and shaping what is acceptable and possible through norms and standards.

During my time in the U.S. government, I sought and applied analytical methods to assess cyber threats to U.S. national security. With the challenges in the cyber domain only increasing, it is critical for analytical tools to also be available, presenting the full range of cyber power, and informing critical public debates today. The framework that the NCPI provides is one that allows policymakers to consider a fuller range of challenges and threats from other state actors. The incorporation of both qualitative and quantitative models, with more than 1000 existing sources of data and with 29 indicators to measure a state’s capability, is more comprehensive than any other current measure of cyber power.

NCPI 2022 builds on the foundations outlined in the 2020 paper and should be understood as a snapshot of the current status of the thirty countries and not be considered a linear step from the 2020 index. Due to the team’s methodology, downwards movements do not mean that a country’s cyber power has diminished in absolute terms. Instead, this movement should be interpreted as relative to the assessment of demonstrated cyber power of other countries drawn from publicly available sources only. Importantly, the index does not make value judgements about how states use their cyber power, only that they have demonstrated their capability and intent to use it. Policy decisions around what is responsible and in the best interests of nations, international conventions, and the world, should draw on this tool, and others, to make those judgements. 

The Belfer Center team’s model for cyber power remains the most holistic and best model to date for measuring cyber power. I am proud of the team for the work they continue to do to push forward this important conversation shining a light on a previously abstract, constantly evolving and central topic to state power and geopolitics today.


For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Voo, Julia, Irfan Hemani and Daniel Cassidy. “National Cyber Power Index 2022.” Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, September 2022.

The Authors


Eric Rosenbach