Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Traveling Domain Theory: A Comparative Approach for Cyberspace Theory Development
by McCarthy, Thomas David, Ph.D., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), 2012, 343; 3516575
Abstract (Summary)

In response to the growing importance of the cyber domain, government institutions are setting policy, proposing legislation, and creating unique organizations wholly dedicated to its development and security. Simultaneously, academic, military, and commercial interest groups are working to define and describe the field, producing volumes of literature and warning of ever-increasing threats. There is, however, no comprehensive cyber theory to anchor efforts across the government, among scholars, and between concerned interest groups.

This is not the first time nations have developed a new domain without clear overarching guidance. Over the last 150 years, the maritime, air, and space domains have seen similar unsettled periods. These initial unsettled periods are what Rosenau terms the pre-theory stage, a time during which competing ideas and terminology jockey for acceptance by researchers, scholars, and practitioners in the field. As ideas in sub-fields of study gain widespread acceptance, the challenge to further theory maturation becomes one of tying them together into a general framework for further analysis. This research project seeks to provide the outlines for this framework regarding cyberspace.

Drawing from the seminal maritime and air theorists who wrote during the technologically driven expansion of their subject domain, this study identifies eighteen common elements of domain power theory. Applying these elements to the cyber domain reveals critical aspects of the domain and highlights areas a mature cyber theory must address. This process suggests a way forward for development of cyber theory and areas for future research. A key finding is that a nation's cyberpower potential depends on three factors: 1) the ability of its national government to coordinate and enforce long-term cyber strategy, 2) the nation's cyber geography, and 3) the character of its population.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pfaltzgraff, Robert L., Jr.
Commitee: Martel, William C., Wright, Stephen E.
School: Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University)
Department: Diplomacy, History, and Politics
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 73/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Political science, Military history, Military studies
Keywords: Cyber, Cyberpower, Cyberspace, Theory
Publication Number: 3516575
ISBN: 9781267459626
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