Strategic Cyber Maneuver

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Small Wars Foundation

Maneuver warfare is an integral part of the strategy, tactics and operations of the United States military, but what does it mean to maneuver in cyberspace? Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous. – Sun Tzu, The Art of War Maneuver warfare dates back millennia and yet the fundamental goal of maneuver, to provide military advantage in tactical situations, has not changed. There are concrete and identifiable military tactics associated with maneuver each refined through conflict and war and each tailored to the needs of the situation faced by commanders on the frontline. The modern era has seen joint forces maneuvers in which Air, Land, Sea work in tandem to accomplish a mission. The state of maneuver warfare changes as weapons and technology evolve. No longer is it reasonable to maneuver in column in two opposing battle lines as in the Napoleonic Wars, modern weapons have changed the concepts of maneuver and made them increasingly more complex, nuanced and challenging. Five years after the establishment of U.S. Cyber Command the United States is confronted with yet another advance in technology that requires a reevaluation of the concepts of maneuver in a cyberized¹ world with smart bombs, laser guided field munitions, blue force trackers, digital logistic networks, and network command and control centers. The department of defense has a new domain that must be examined, poked and prodded to ascertain the means and mechanisms to achieve advantage. This paper examines the concept of maneuver within cyberspace and attempts to develop an initial framework for maneuver operations to achieve both within and cross-domain effects.