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Terms of Reference: ISAB Study of a Framework for International Cyber Stability

July 17, 2013



The International Security Advisory Board (ISAB) is requested to undertake a study of a potential architecture for enhanced international cooperation in promoting a peaceful, secure, and open cyberspace environment.  Malicious activities in cyberspace are becoming more frequent, sophisticated and costly in the damage they inflict on governments, business, and society. While the United States seeks to retain the openness of the Internet, its efforts to achieve a global common understanding of the norms of acceptable state behavior in cyberspace face resistance from countries that desire to regulate Internet governance and increase state control of cyberspace, including its content, in the name of security. In seeking solutions to transnational cybersecurity issues, an alternative to a "one-world" strategy developed and carried out by all actors is a coalition of like-minded states that affirm common norms of state behavior and cooperate to build confidence and capacity in the cybersecurity realm. A third option is developing regional mechanisms and organizations to accomplish these goals.

It would be of great assistance if the ISAB could examine and assess:

  • the pros and cons of different strategies for pursuing international cyber stability: particularly global, like-minded coalition, and regional organization approaches;
  • how groups of countries could be organized, and how they could operate to promote cyber stability goals;
  • what principles, norms and commitments should guide states that work together to promote cyber stability;
  • what cyber stability approaches, including confidence-building measures (CBMs), would be most attractive to persuade other states to cooperate;
  • how to deal with different cybersecurity priorities among states;
  • possible incentives for state restraint from and disincentives to engagement in cyber warfare (sometimes called "cyber deterrence") and options for responding to malicious cyber acts.

During its conduct of the study, the ISAB, as it deems necessary, may expand on the tasks listed above. I request that you complete the study in 270 days.

Completed work should be submitted to the ISAB Executive Directorate no later than April 2014.

The Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security will sponsor the study. The Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance will support the study. Jane Purcell will serve as the Executive Secretary for the study and Chris Herrick will represent the ISAB Executive Directorate.

The study will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of P.L. 92-463, the "Federal Advisory Committee Act." If the ISAB establishes a working group to assist in its study, the working group must present its report of findings to the full ISAB for consideration in a formal meeting, prior to presenting the report or findings to the Department.

Date: 07/17/2013 Description: Under Secretary signature for TOR cyber agreement - State Dept Image

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