Author Biography

As a professor of war studies at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia, I study how cyber impacts the evolution of war. I’ve enjoyed some success with publications addressing my own label of ‘cyber rebellions,’ this online activism a clear indication of civilian entities marginalizing the violent acts of war. My work bodes well for uses of the Internet as a means of strengthening democracy world-wide and in step with American sensibilities, should the United States be able to withstand its own free exchange of information at home. That concern needs attention after recognition of the ascendancy of peace given online technology—a benefit that outweighs the risks inherent in backing an open interface.



Subject Area Keywords

Civil war and internal conflict, Cybersecurity, Democracy and democatization, Governance and rule of law, Ideology, Information operations, International security, National security, Peace studies, Security policy, Social media, Social movements, War studies


Cyberspace allows ideology to dictate who wins a war. That technological medium has marginalized violence to such an extent that a belligerent must make a cognitive effort a priority. That focus means humanity has at last reached a coveted threshold where ideas determine a war’s outcome. This article traces that evolution along the “spectrum of conflict,” a military categorization encompassing all of war. This act of reductionism must confront cyber realities that alter an understanding of war as one driven by acts of violence. This feat means a digital peace finds an equal footing with war arising from a cyber ideological conflict. That conflict rests on cyber rebellions derived from an online interface contested in content but able to withstand the pull of government oversight. Stripped of violence as an absolute defining war, cognitive war becomes of paramount importance as a broad intellectualism compels a state of war. Ideology comes less from a meaning shaped by political context and more from online access impacting political norms. This contest in cyberspace means winning the digital war requires an open interface to pressure authoritarian regimes into reform, all the while allowing for much of this same friction that arises in states favoring democracy. Finding that balance arrests the endless process of war as the chief means of human interaction.