The Decision to Attack
Military and Intelligence Cyber Decision-Making

Aaron Franklin Brantly

New insights on the use of cyber technology in warfare


The debate over cyber technology has resulted in new considerations for national security operations. States find themselves in an increasingly interconnected world with a diverse threat spectrum and little understanding of how decisions are made within this amorphous domain.

With The Decision to Attack, Aaron Franklin Brantly investigates how states decide to employ cyber in military and intelligence operations against other states and how rational those decisions are. In his examination, Brantly contextualizes broader cyber decision-making processes into a systematic expected utility–rational choice approach to provide a mathematical understanding of the use of cyber weapons at the state level.

Topics Discussed:
  • The Key Concepts of Cyber
  • The Motivation and Utility for Covert Action
  • Digital Power
  • Anonymity and Attribution in Cyberspace
  • Cyber and Conventional Operations: The Dynamics of Conflict
  • Defining the Role of Intelligence in Cyberspace
  • How actors decide to use cyber—a rational choice approach
  • Cognitive Processes and Decision-Making in Cyberspace
  • Finding meaning in the expected utility of international cyber conflict
Studies in Security and International Affairs

Page count: 248 pp.
15 diagrams, 16 tables
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $49.95

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List price: $28.95

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Aaron Franklin Brantly is assistant professor of international relations and cyber in the Department of Social Sciences at the U.S. Military Academy, cyber policy fellow at the Army Cyber Institute, and cyber fellow at the Combating Terrorism Center.