Over the past year, a number of seriously consequential cyber attacks against the United States have come to light. These include the SolarWinds breach,1 ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline2 and the JBS meat processing company,3 and a compromise of the email systems of the U.S. Agency for International Development.4 U.S. officials have indicated their belief that Russia either sponsored these attacks or at least tolerated the activities of the Russia-based hacker groups responsible for them.
That such attacks have happened at all raises important and disturbing questions about risks to the increasing U.S. dependency on information technology, including that of nearly every aspect of America’s nuclear force management, from stockpile management to launch. These risks suggest that American nuclear forces may be far more vulnerable to cyber disruption, destruction, and corruption than policymakers realize.
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