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The United States Homeland Security and Cyber Defense Strategy

Brandon Hietala
WRTG 112-6952
18 March 2022

The United States Homeland Security and Cyber Defense Strategy
The danger to the United States increases daily and will continue to rise as the day passes. The country’s capacity to defend and safeguard itself against these dangers or potential attacks is the country’s most significant problem. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was developed to respond to the ever-present developing threats and the intensity of the attacks. The DHS is at the forefront of great labor with the overall objective of securing and protecting the United States. From July 2002, the Department of Homeland security has been in place to respond to terrorist strikes. The agency was established in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in the United States. Its mission is to prepare for, mitigate, discourage, preempt, defend, and respond to threats and violence targeted against U.S. territories. Constantly, Homeland Security confronts various problems in its efforts to safeguard the country against so many “foreign and domestic” attackers.
Moreover, the recent advancement in technology raises the level of cyberspace danger in America. Cyber-attacks as an outcome of vulnerabilities are now a constant threat to the economic growth of America, human lives, and national defense, especially from those advanced nations. Several nations have implemented strategies to minimize the effect of the cyber-attack hence safeguarding their national security (Shafqat & Masood, 2016). Despite many nations like Russia having these strategies, America should start preparing for a defense strategy. In addition, despite China and Russia has not sent a full-strength cyber-attack against America, their possibility of doing so is high. Thus, it is crucial for the United States to start preparing for this with a strong defense strategy that is proactive rather than reactive.

The World Wide Web has evolved into a world medium of communication and business ever since its official launch in the late 1990s. More significantly, it revolutionized the globe, diminishing the space among all regions of the globe figuratively, enabling more engagement among countries across the globe, for worse or better. However, humankind endeavored to weaponize the internet, as it did with all technologies, even before it was made available to the public. The first DoS assault, perpetrated by a ‘computer worm,’ considerably hindered the earlier internet (Harrison Dinniss, 2018). Ever since cyber-attacks have developed to leverage advances in information technology as routes for conducting criminality on multiple occasions.
Furthermore, cyberattacks can vary from installing spyware on a home computer to the attempted destruction of entire countries’ infrastructures. An issue that happened in 2012 is an excellent example of this on a global scale. Hackers accessed twenty-two million documents from the America Office of Personnel Management, including social security numbers, residences, and fingerprint information. State-sponsored cybercriminals carried out the attack on behalf of the Chinese authorities (Vigneault, 2021). Therefore, this incident exemplifies the evolution of cyber-attacks, from raids on merely the internet by a Blackhat criminal to operations on a country’s confidential material by other countries, which one might refer to as cyber-warfare.
In preparing for cyber-attack, the United States should employ a proactive defense strategy such as the implementation of the international law regarding cyber technology and its legal usage as a means of warfare. In these modern-days, cyber-attack can destroy nations’ infrastructure and hack sensitive data regarding government which can harm both the financial and physical of the nation’s population (Chaowei et al., 2022). In addition, since no comprehensive global treaty exists to regulate the cyber-attacks, America has been practicing the law through analogy by equating attack to the traditional force attack. Therefore, the U.S. should also assist interested partner countries in strengthening their ability to combat illegal cyber activities. Since cybercrime has no borders, especially state-sponsored and terrorist acts, significant international law enforcement alliances are required. Such collaboration necessitates that foreign law enforcement agencies have the professional capabilities to help U.S. law enforcement when needed.
As a result, it is in the national security interests of the United States to maintain creating cyber crime-fighting capabilities that permit enhanced international law enforcement collaboration. Furthermore, implementing international laws will aid America, particularly against threats from Russia and China, since criminal laws have proven ineffective in deterring international cyber-attacks because a few large countries, like Russia and China, enable their attackers to act with impunity once targeting rival nations.
The formation of cybersecurity strong defense strategies to address cyber-attack is?driven by national security threats within every nation.?In America, preparing for cyber-attack, especially for a nation like China and Russia, the homeland security department must apply cybersecurity strategies dual aspect which are quite expensive. The strategy incorporates both offensive and defensive security strategies put in action. In addition, the department should establish both the civil-cyber defense and military strategies since the nation has already established departments tasked with the responsibility of preventing by eliminating and detecting the danger before they occur. In addition, in partnership with stakeholders like Homeland Security, the agency is tasked with providing warnings and signs of any hostile cyber activity to both the federal and state governments.
Additionally, the offensive and defensive security strategies are more proactive than the current cybersecurity model in existence since 2003. Moreover, the homeland department of security has been part of the strategy to safeguard the nation against internal and external attacks (Sabillon et al., 2016). The strategy incorporates several main priorities such as a global Web security hazardous and reduction program, a security task force, awareness, training schedule, international cooperation, and a cyberspace group safeguarding vital infrastructure. Nevertheless, despite the nation having these strategies, nations like Russia and China have more advanced strategies that may use as a cyber-attack.
Another strategy that America should use to prepare for any cyber-attack from any nation is the creation of policies like cyberspace policy. The policy regulates all the elements of computerized information exchange, such as the internet, data confidentiality, network usage, and cyber defense. Furthermore, nations like China and Russia have a great interest in accelerating their advancement in the military because they are behind America. Their focus is on avoidance exposure to military and political pressure, especially from America. Thus, these nations are increasing their incentives for industrial espionage to achieve an economic advantage. In addition, America can use this policy since it will help dissuade other countries from invading their critical infrastructure (Hjortdal, 2011). To gather more information through cyberespionage, allowing states to expand more rapidly in their military expansion. To acquire an economic advantage in areas where technological advancement has been made?for instance, using industrial espionage.
The policy should involve the development of an effective and efficient platform for sharing data and information and comparing amongst all the departments that are responsive to cyber-attacks. In addition, there are various steps in a private-public cooperation system such as defense forces, homeland defense, and the judicial system in America (Min et al., 2015). These partnerships must communicate any cyber-related information. Next, a data-gathering agency must be created, and the information must then be used to reinforce cybersecurity measures. Furthermore, this strategy should enable the states to create a cyberspace responsive team that will help safeguard the country’s interest, identifying and warning citizens against any possibility of cyber-attack.
Homeland Security does not equal funds spent on more security gained because its tasks include defending the nation and facilitating the adequate implementation of the strategy that results in security considerations. Furthermore, the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for federal initiatives, legal reforms, critical oversight, and cost-sharing among state and local authorities. As a result, the citizen-engagement strategy lessens the administration’s constraints in preparedness for cyber-attacks, particularly from China and Russia. Citizen participation in security and protection considerations is another technique for maintaining long-term efforts to achieve homeland security goals. The department understands the law’s capacities concerning the individuals who depend on it to cope with crime and national security threats, particularly cyber-attacks. Therefore, restricting government expenditure provides a great deal of power in creating and strengthening the integration of mechanisms for legal reforms and security precautions since there is transparency. Thus, the DHS will be able to have access to valuable resources for dealing with any cyber-attack.
Additionally, according to McDougall (2022), the invasion of Ukraine by Russia has raised several questions about whether America has invested enough in response to such an attack. Through this attack, the U.S. is forced to increase its budget to invest more of its security since the previous deterrence strategy that was developed in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea by Russia was termed ineffective. Therefore, America is expected to develop another version of the national defense strategy, which will be proactive (McDougall, 2022). Furthermore, this strategy will call for additional resources to prepare the nation for cyber-attacks, especially in Russia.
Since China is one of the nations that has grown to be a superpower because of its military expansion and economic growth, the American has labeled it as a “pacing threat.” Therefore, the strong defense strategy that America should employ, which is proactive in preparation for any cyber-attack from these developed nations, especially China, is through the creation of military-grade viruses? software. The strategy would prohibit cyber-attacks on American infrastructures and data from other nations and prohibit terrorist groups from doing the same. Furthermore, according to Atlamazoglou (2021), the American government states that for China to further its commercial, military, and foreign policy interests, it has been stealing information, especially DNA records. In addition, the Chinese country’s desire for information goes beyond typical security measures. For instance, in 2015, the United States government revealed that hackers from China broke into the American Office of Personnel Management and managed to steal delicate data from a multitude of former and present U.S. executives, as well as candidates for federal positions, such as security reference forms, fingerprint registers, and financial and health information.
Moreover, different approaches for storing and categorizing data will not be proactive in solving this problem of hacking of the information because Atlamazoglou states that the former officer in Air Forces said that ?The most [technologically] advanced security can often be bypassed using an analog [and simple] method. We have seen several different strategies being tossed around in the public discourse, from mounting a stronger offense to focusing almost exclusively on buffering our critical infrastructure defenses” (Atlamazoglou, 2021). Therefore, the Biden authority should employ more cyber warfare strategies that are more aggressive, like developing military-grade viruses’ software.
Given the inherent disastrous effects of cyber attacks, it is vital for governments to be able to secure their vital infrastructure properly. Using a layered defense comprising passive and active measures is an essential defense strategy to fight off cyber-attacks in America, especially from proactive China and Russia. Nevertheless, the American government opts to limit their computer security to passive defenses only, partly out of concern of violating the law of war if active defenses are used. The DHS should treat cyber-attacks like any other terrorist issue since it is unclear if a cyber-attack qualifies as a military assault, and also because the law of war necessitates nations to ascribe an armed attack to a foreign state or its representatives prior to reacting with force, the prevailing opinion among nations is that cyber-attacks must be considered a criminal issue.
Additionally, the states’ use of only active defense strategy as a defense strategy is in-proactive because it confines the nation’s computer defense to passive defenses only, thus weakening the defense state posture (Ge et al., 2022). It requires the government to depend solely on local?criminal statutes?to dissuade cyber-attacks, which seem to be ineffectual due to the unwillingness of numerous big powers like Russia and China?to extradite or punish their hackers. Though countries like America?can track cyber-attacks back to computer networks in another nation, determining the attacker’s existence indisputably necessitates an intense, time-consuming assessment with the help of the countries of residence. Furthermore, treating cyber-attacks as a criminal issue, on the other hand, will not be an issue if passive defenses and offender statutes provide appropriate safeguards. However, neither of these options is sufficient.
Although passive defense strategies are often the first layer of protection and lower the likelihood of a successful cyber-attack, America cannot depend on them to adequately secured its crucial information infrastructure. On the other hand, passive defenses do little to deter attackers from launching attacks in the first place. Therefore, states like America must utilize active and passive defense strategies to get out of this predicament. Active defenses will dramatically increase state cyber defenses and serve as a deterrence to cyber-attacks because adversaries would not want to be subjected to counterattacks.
In conclusion, the obligation to prepare for cyber-attacks initially required countries to avoid unlawful acts that they were aware of in advance. Nevertheless, in response to the global terrorist attacks, this obligation has progressed and now necessitates nations to act against organizations widely known to carry out cybercrimes. The obligation must be construed in the context of cyber warfare to oblige governments to establish and implement criminal legislation to discourage cross-border cyber-attacks. Instead, the existing predicament countries face with China and Russia, similar to the current one in Ukraine, will remain intact. Therefore, enabling governments to establish and implement laws against cyber-attacks will either resolve the current crisis or make a permanent road for victim-states to consider them legally liable for an offensive without attempting to attribute this before.

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