The Utility of Cyberattack as a Tool For Military Operations: The Case of China Vs. the United States

Date of Graduation

Spring 2006


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Bradley Thayer


The embracing of computers and technology in what has been called the Information Age has created vulnerabilities that can be strategically exploited through cyberattack. Computer within private homes, on corporate networks, within the government and military, and the SCADA systems underlying critical infrastructure systems, all contribute to the dilemma. A foreign government or other power could use cyberattack against the United States as a force multiplier in military operations or as a strategic weapon. The utility of fifteen cyberattack tactics are compared to six conflict scenarios, with cyberattack showing great utility across the board. Cyberattack is a potent tool for intelligence gathering and is a powerful force multiplier in military operations. The greatest dander from cyberattack is its use as a strategic weapon against American society. If such an attack were successful, it would ruin the economy, terrorize the population, and force the United States from its position as a global superpower. To redress this threat, the study recommends widespread adoption of technological security measures and government guidance to increase the state of cybersecurity within the United States.


cyberattack, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection, military operations, China

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Kip R. Holdridge