Bytes, Bombs, and Spies The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations

William J. Perry Conference Room
Encina Hall, Second Floor, Central, C231
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305
  • Herb Lin & Amy Zegart

Offensive cyber operations have become increasingly important elements of U.S. national security policy. From the deployment of Stuxnet to disrupt Iranian centrifuges to the possible use of cyber methods against North Korean ballistic missile launches, the prominence of offensive cyber capabilities as instruments of national power continues to grow. Yet conceptual thinking lags behind the technical development of these new weapons. How might offensive cyber operations be used in coercion or conflict? What strategic considerations should guide their development and use? What intelligence capabilities are required for cyber weapons to be effective? How do escalation dynamics and deterrence work in cyberspace? What role does the private sector play?

In this volume, edited by Herbert Lin and Amy Zegart—co-directors of the Stanford Cyber Policy Program—leading scholars and practitioners explore these and other vital questions about the strategic uses of offensive cyber operations. The contributions to this groundbreaking volume address the key technical, political, psychological, and legal dimensions of the fast-changing strategic landscape.



Dr. Herb Lin is senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and Hank J. Holland Fellow in Cyber Policy and Security at the Hoover Institution, both at Stanford University. He is chief scientist emeritus for the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board at the National Academies. He served on President Barack Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity.


Dr. Amy Zegart is the Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, senior fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, and professor of political science, by courtesy, at Stanford University. Her previous books include Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity, with Condoleezza Rice; and Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11.



Dr. Sameer Bhalotra is the Co-founder & Executive Chairman of StackRox, and is a CISAC affiliate. He is also affiliated with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), UC Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC), and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He previously worked in cybersecurity at Google and as COO at Impermium (acquired by Google). In government, he served as Senior Director for Cybersecurity on the National Security Council staff at the White House, Cybersecurity & Technology Lead for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and in various roles in the Intelligence Community.