Global Challenges in Offensive Cyber | Dr Erica Lonergan | What is the role of offensive cyber operations in denial strategies?

We’re back with our ad hoc seminar series on ‘Global Challenges in Offensive Cyber‘, where we will be inviting a range of speakers from across different perspectives and backgrounds to discuss offensive cyber.

Our next speaker will be Dr Erica Lonergan on 9 November 2021 (3pm UK, 10am EST).

Sign up here


There is a longstanding debate among scholars and practitioners about whether cyber deterrence is possible. Most deterrence skeptics point to the problems of both credibility and capabilities that are associated with conducting offensive cyber operations as part of deterrence by punishment strategies. Conversely, some are more optimistic about cyber deterrence, pointing to the potential for deterrence by denial strategies that are anchored in defense and resilience. However, this debate largely overlooks another aspect of denial strategies; specifically, the potential for some forms of offensive operations to support denial, rather than punishment, strategies. Leveraging the conventional deterrence literature, rather than the nuclear deterrence literature, this discussion will explore the conditions under which offensive cyber operations could support denial strategies.


Dr. Erica Lonergan (formerly Borghard) is a senior fellow in the Technology and International Affairs Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, as well as an Adjunct Associate Professor and Research Scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. Erica served as a senior director on the US Cyberspace Solarium Commission, a Congressional commission established to develop a comprehensive national strategy to defend the United States in cyberspace. Previously, Erica was senior fellow with the New American Engagement Initiative at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security in the Atlantic Council. Prior to that, she served in two positions at the United States Military Academy at West Point, as an Assistant Professor in the Army Cyber Institute, and as Assistant Professor and Executive Director of the Rupert H. Johnson Grand

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