Former Department of Defense official Eric Rosenbach urged the United States Foreign Relations Committee to incentivize blockchain investments as part of a wider strategy to combat cyberspace threats.
Rosenbach, who served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security during the Obama administration, made this remark during a speech titled “Living in a Glass House: The United States Must Better Defend Against Cyber and Information Attacks.”
Rosenbach’s thesis is that cyber warfare is asymmetric in that “a small nation with an offensive cyber capability can have an outsized effect on a large power” such as the United States. He believes that the high rate of internet access within the United States, along with the open nature of American democracy, renders the nation vulnerable to a cyber attack from a hostile actor such as North Korea. He believes such an attack “is likely to happen within the next year if current trends continue.”
He argues the United States must guard itself against cyber attacks by pursuing an aggressive, tech-based approach.
In sum, the strength of the tech sector and the internet has driven American economic growth and strengthened our democracy for the past two decades. The corollary of this success, though, is that the US is increasingly vulnerable to cyber and information attacks. In order to maintain the “center of gravity” for the United States, we must bolster America’s cybersecurity posture and rethink our strategy for countering foreign information operations.
Specifically, he advised the US government to “incentivize investment in cloud-based security, blockchain-enabled transactions, and quantum computing.” Such technological investments should help secure American against cyber threats.
Many cryptocurrency advocates will bristle at some of Rosenbach’s other security suggestions, including withholding information about cybersecurity vulnerabilities from the public domain. However, as governments begin to realize the possibilities presented by blockchain technology, it is inevitable that they will try to find ways to use it for their own purposes. To this end, the Department of Homeland Security recently awarded grants to blockchain researchers, and just this week the State Department established the Blockchain@State working group.
The first blockchain was designed as a tool for revolutionary decentralization. Governments, by necessity, will look to co-opt the technology and integrate it into centralized frameworks. Only time will tell what role the government will play in blockchain technology’s future, as well as how blockchain technology will affect the nation-state.
Featured image from Shutterstock.