Word on the street is Trump’s administration is threatening to bring forth nuclear retaliation in cases of Cyber-attacks on American infrastructure. A nuclear strike to discourage cyber-attacks would be a new way to handle the situation. What is to prevent U.S rivals from attacking civilian infrastructure that is severely vulnerable?
Using a non-cyber solution to handle a cyber-attack is not impossible; the Defense Department’s cyber strategy keeps all options open. Previous cyber-attacks dealt with by legal, official means; nevertheless, the defence department is not threatening a nuclear strike.
The Obama administration never used or threatened to use a nuclear response to discourage a nuclear attack, crisis war gaming evidence shows that the U.S will ignore cyber-attacks rather than respond with nuclear strikes.
Currently the United States has not suffered any severe attacks; nonetheless, conventional leaders are not convinced that the current solutions for cyber-dissuading works. Because of modernization, i.e. increased internet access and increased in coding skills cyber –attacks cannot be adequately deterred through conventional methods of network strengthening.
Would a threat of proportional response as a punishment for cyber-attack be enough? The U.S faces some silent adversaries such as North Korea. The U.S might think they are safe or well prepared to fight with such cyber-attacks while in reality they are substantially exposed.
Policymakers therefore faced with the quagmire of being stuck between the uncertain and limited cyber responses and hard to achieve economic sanctions in dealing with such attacks.
A survey conducted on the American population shows that most Americans deem the use of nuclear force as a method of retaliation as excessive. America has in the past used nuclear force against an adversary, i.e. the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Many of the soldiers, politicians, and the general population of that era still bare a guilty conscience owing to the immense suffering to the victims of the attacks as well as generations that followed.
For America to efficiently use nuclear aggression as a threat to deter attacks potential attackers would first have to believe the threat as plausible. Also, they would require the support of the general population in their country to exert such extreme measures, the support they clearly lack.
The above study performed by conducting interviews where the respondents asked about probable retaliatory measures they would employ if it were up to them. The responses varied from mild to adverse had varying casualties as well as economic effects.