Richard A. Clarke, the chairman of Good Harbor Security Risk Management, was special adviser to the president for cybersecurity in the George W. Bush administration. Steve Andreasen, a consultant to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, was the National Security Council’s staff director for defense policy and arms control from 1993 to 2001.
“We will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and urge others to do the same.”
— Barack Obama, Prague, April 2009
President Obama is expected to unveil a new nuclear policy initiative this week in Berlin. Whether he can make good on his first-term commitments to end outdated Cold War nuclear policies may depend on a firm presidential directive to the Pentagon rejecting any new missions for nuclear weapons — in particular, their use in response to cyberattacks.
The Pentagon’s Defense Science Board concluded this year that China and Russia could develop capabilities to launch an “existential cyber attack” against the United States — that is, an attack causing sufficient damage that our government would lose control of the country. “While the manifestation of a nuclear and cyber attack are very different,” the board concluded, “in the end, the existential impact to the United States is the same.”