Author Biography

Emilio Iasiello has twenty years of experience in cyber threat intelligence leading teams at the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of State in strategic cyber intelligence production supporting national-level decision-makers and senior civilian and military policymakers.

Emilio has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and has presented at NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence and an international Aviation conference. He is a frequent contributor to cyber-related blogs.



Subject Area Keywords

Cybersecurity, Information operations, International security, War studies


Much attention has been focused on the potential consequences of cyber attacks against critical infrastructure and the use of cyber weapons as an asymmetric equalizer. However, as a capability considered to be under the larger umbrella of an information operations (IO)/information warfare (IW) campaign, how significant a weapon is cyber for the strategist in an information environment? As observed in recent IO/IW campaigns targeting U.S. elections in 2016 and 2020, lack of any discernable disruptive cyber attacks may have provided an answer to this, as a cyber power purposefully elected not to implement attacks. Instead, cyber espionage was used, and even at that, played a minor complementary role in the larger effort. This calls into question the efficacy of cyber as an instrument of IO/IW, and the true nature of its role in more strategic soft-power operations. This paper argues that cyber is at best a supportive enabler of campaigns where information is the catalyst to achieve strategic results, reducing cyber attacks as tools best used for signaling, punishment, or implemented in first strike scenarios.