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Digital Event #9: Defending Forward: The Cyberspace Solarium Commission's View

June 17, 2020

Dig Event #9 Defending Forward.mp4

Nation states around the world strive to develop and employ cyber capabilities to achieve strategic objectives. Adversaries seek to use cyber operations to enable their warfighting capabilities, advance their interests short of armed conflict, and undermine American economic strength, political will, and military might. Deterring and reducing the effectiveness of adversarial cyber operations requires the United States to adopt a “Layered Cyber Deterrence” strategy. A key element of layered cyber deterrence is the concept of defend forward.

Defend forward was originally seen in the 2018 Department of Defense (DoD) cyber strategy and focuses on the military instrument of power. The Commission’s strategy expands the defend forward concept to incorporate all of the instruments of power. It integrates defend forward into a whole-of-nation approach for defending the U.S. economy, political system, and military against cyber threats, as well as shared interests of our allies and partners. The Commission’s conceptualization of defend forward preserves the DoD’s critical role in the military realm, while at the same time advocates for engaging with international partners, the private sector, and other stakeholders across the interagency so that the U.S. as a whole can rapidly and effectively address the range of malicious adversary behavior occurring in and through cyberspace.


  • Mark Montgomery: Executive Director (Moderator)

  • Dr. Erica Borghard: Senior Director and Team Lead, Task Force One

  • Val Cofield: Senior Director and Team Lead, Task Force Three

  • Tatyana Bolton: Policy Director, Task Force Two and Directorate Four