The United States is being bombarded with cyber-attacks. From the surge in ransomware groups targeting critical infrastructure to nation states compromising the software supply chain and corporate email servers, malicious cyber activities have reached an all-time high. Russia attracts the most attention, but China is vastly more sophisticated. They have a common interest in exploiting the openness of the Internet and social media—and our democracy—to erode confidence in our institutions and to exacerbate our societal rifts to prevent us from mounting an effective response. Halting this digital aggression will require Americans to undertake sweeping changes in how we educate, organize and protect ourselves and to ask difficult questions about how vulnerable our largest technology giants are.
If we are waiting for a “Cyber 9/11” or a “Cyber Pearl Harbor,” we are misunderstanding how our adversaries wage cyber warfare. This is a timely and critically important book. No other book has analyzed the threat of cyber warfare with the depth and knowledge brought to the subject by the authors.
It has now become a cliché to argue that a “whole of government” or “whole of society” response is necessary to respond to this crisis, but that concept has never been more important. It will take many years and billions of dollars to even begin to secure our IT systems and prevent the slow rot that is destroying America. Using language that the layman can understand, we wish to educate Americans about what has happened and inspire them to seek solutions.
McLaughlin is the former Senior Counterintelligence Advisor for United States Cyber Command, where he was responsible for the coordination of all Department of Defense counterintelligence operations in cyberspace. He was at the heart of the Pentagon’s efforts, for example, to prevent Russia from using cyberattacks to disrupt Ukraine’s economy. In this role, he was also in charge of overseeing counterintelligence support to every U.S. military offensive and defensive cyberspace operation worldwide. Prior to rising to this position, he spent a career conducting clandestine operations and sensitive activities across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. His vantage of the changing face of modern warfare is that of both a shadow warrior on the front lines and a trusted advisor to the military’s senior-most commanders. He is now a cybersecurity attorney in Washington, D.C. and currently serves as a Research Affiliate at the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS), where he leads a team in evaluating Department of Defense policies and federal regulations to enable the integration of government and private sector cyberspace capabilities to provide for national defense
Bill Holstein was based in Hong Kong and Beijing for United Press International and has been following U.S.-China relations for more than 40 years. He also has specialized in covering technology since joining U.S. News & World Report in 1996. He has worked for or written for Business Week, The New York Times, Business 2.0, Fortune and other top publications.
"Influence operations." Once an exotic term from spy novels, remote from our daily lives, today it's a reality that touches all of us through our networked devices. Russia and China have gotten entry to our homes and to our minds, seeking to influence and disorient us. McLaughlin and Holstein are Paul Reveres for the 21st century, shouting the alarm and explaining how citizens, IT firms, and government must rebalance relations with China to protect our democratic system.
Andrew J. Nathan, one of America’s top China-watchers and Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
“McLaughlin and Holstein are Paul Reveres for the 21st century, shouting the alarm and explaining how citizens, IT firms, and government must rebalance relations with China to protect our democratic system.”
Anyone who wants to understand the risks we face in the digital world, and to consider a range of excellent and thoughtful recommendations on how we can mitigate those risks, would enjoy reading Battlefield: Cyber.
Glenn Gerstell, former General Counsel, National Security Agency
This book is a must read for anyone interested in the future of democracy and the Great American Experiment. This book begs the question: “What is to Be Done?”
Steven Soble, Chief Executive Officer, Assured Enterprises
Direct but nuanced, terrifying yet inspiring, a page-turner of a narrative built on robust empirics: Battlefield: Cyber is the primer, and call to arms, that everyone needs for today's war. Michael McLaughlin and William Holstein paint, in diligently researched yet thrilling brushstrokes, both the obvious battle taking place under our very noses and the subtler one changing how battles are fought. In the process, they offer a preternaturally clear portrait of China's strategy -- and of U.S. foibles. Best of all, they provide hope for a path forward.
Emily de la Bruyère, co-founder, Horizon Advisory
Incredibly timely and critically important, "Battlefield Cyber: How China and Russia are Undermining Our Democracy and National Security" is essential reading for cyber security professionals, academicians, governmental authorities (including state and federal legislators, corporate executives, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject. While also available for personal reading lists, "Battlefield Cyber: How China and Russia are Undermining Our Democracy and National Security" is an essential and unreservedly recommended addition to corporate, governmental, community, college, and university library Cybernetics & Political Intelligence collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.