War or Peace in Cyberspace: Whither International Cyber Security?

Conference report | Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo, Ontario | May 24, 2018

Executive Summary

Cyberspace and the Internet represent a unique human-created environment on which global society is increasingly dependent for its welfare. This space has experienced a major “militarization” in recent years with armed forces establishing cyber security units and many developing offensive cyber capabilities. Diplomatic efforts at developing agreed norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace have not kept pace with the growth of cyber security capabilities within national security establishments. The security “frame” imposed on discussions of international cyber policy has tended to marginalize human rights and humanitarian perspectives. The re-emergence of great power rivalry provides an opportunity for middle powers to exercise leadership in promoting cooperative security options for cyberspace. The wider stakeholder community including the private sector and civil society need to be better integrated into state-led discussions of international cyber security policy.

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It is urgent to eliminate tactical nuclear weapons in Europe

From: Marc Finaud
Sent: June 27, 2018 5:30 AM
To: Marc Finaud
Subject: Elimination of Nuclear Tactical Weapons from Europe

Dear Colleagues / Chers Collègues

I am circulating the appeal below (in English and French), initiated by members of the French Nuclear Disarmament Movement (IDN), for a negotiation on the elimination of all nuclear ‘tactical’ weapons between NATO and Russia because of the danger they pose to the security and stability of Europe. This does not prejudge anyone’s position on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of nuclear deterrence or the need for any other measures to reduce the risk of nuclear war, but we strongly believe that the opportunity of the upcoming NATO Summit (11-12 July 2018) should not be missed.

If you agree with us, please let me know whether we can add your name to the list of supporters of the appeal, and whether you wish to do this on an individual basis or on behalf of your organization.

Anticipated thanks and best regards,

Marc Finaud
Bureau Member
Initiatives pour le Désarmement nucléaire


The United States under the Trump administration is not showing any sign that it is willing to withdraw its 150 so-called non-strategic nuclear weapons deployed on the territory of five NATO European nations. It is even planning to dedicate $11 billion to their modernization. Such a move is not only militarily senseless but it would threaten the security and stability of the European continent by transforming gravity bombs with a mainly political value into precision-guided weapons with variable yield which would aggravate the risk of nuclear war in Europe. To overcome the current obsolescence of the existing tactical nuclear weapons, the best solution is not to modernize them but to eliminate them, in Europe and in Russia. But the necessary dialogue with Russia on such weapons is badly needed. As a response to Moscow’s behaviour deemed aggressive in Ukraine and its pressure on the Baltic states, NATO, in the 2016 Warsaw communiqué, merely recalled that “NATO’s nuclear deterrence posture also relies, in part, on United States’ nuclear weapons forward-deployed in Europe and on capabilities and infrastructure provided by Allies concerned”.

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Good News Service #57: June 2018

  1. Peace activist Ecuador Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa elected President of the UN General Assembly
  2. AVAAZ obtains a total ban on pesticides that kill bees in all 28 countries of Europe
  3. A Senior’s Version of Facebook: Is this you?
  4. In this grim time for journalists, a breakthrough in South Sudan
  5. Despite the chaos in Washington writers find plenty of “Better Angels” alive and well in Middle America
  6. Scandinavians reach their targets for Renewable Energy ahead of schedule
  7. Citizens walk for peace in Afghanistan
  8. Cease-fire in Afghanistan for Eid
  9. Afghan Peace Volunteers and schools for street kids

Download the full issue here (docx)

Interview with Izumi Nakamitsu, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

Sean Howard writes in the Cape Breton Spectator: For a view from inside the current UN leadership on the philosophy, politics and prospects of the new Agenda, I spoke by phone on June 14 with Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. Nakamitsu took office on 1 May 2017 — two months before the adoption of the Ban Treaty by 122 UN states – following a distinguished and varied career in the organization, most recently as assistant administrator of the Crisis Response Unit at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Read the full interview here: https://capebretonspectator.com/2018/06/20/izumi-nakamitsu-un-disarmament/

Better Late Than Never: An updated cyber security strategy for Canada

Although its gestation was excessively long, the government of Canada has finally released an updated National Cyber Security Strategy (the first and last such strategy dates back to 2010).

After all these years of preparation and consultation, one might have expected a more thorough and detailed plan as to how the government intends to deal with the burgeoning threats in cyberspace. These have ranged from data breaches involving multi-millions of accounts to sophisticated state conducted cyber penetration operations, such as the 2014 compromise of Government of Canada systems for which China was blamed. Given the magnitude of the threat, it is disappointing that the strategy comes across as a fragmented statement characterized more by expressions of broad intention rather than specific objectives.

Released June 12 by the ministers of public safety, national defence, and innovation, science and economic development, the strategy, subtitled “Canada’s Vision for Security and Prosperity in the Digital Age,” is rather thin on vision and thinner yet on how the goals identified are to be implemented. The three core “themes” — Security and Resilience, Cyber Innovation and Leadership and Collaboration — are described in a broad brush manner (e.g. “we will better protect Canadians from cyber crime”; “the federal government will position Canada as a global leader in cyber security”) that lack tangible expression. Replicating the flawed approach of the 2010 document, “action plans” for realizing the strategy are to come at some future time, with a promise of “clear performance metrics” and reporting on results. Such “action plans” for the 2010 strategy, which were geared to improving the security of the federal government’s own systems and promoting public education, did not appear until 2013 and were never subjected to meaningful evaluation.

Despite the current strategy’s boast that “We will be an example to the world of what can be achieved through a cohesive and coherent National Cyber Security Strategy,” the Canadian product pales in comparison with earlier strategies issued by peer states such as Australia and the United Kingdom. The UK’s National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021 is not only a superior policy document in terms of analysis and the specificity of its commitments, but also contains an extensive “Implementation Plan” setting out key objectives and how progress on them is to be measured.

While the strategy claims it will align with other cyber-related initiatives of the government, such as the Canadian military’s use of cyber, a cyber foreign policy, the defence of electoral processes from cyber threats and the 2017 Innovation and Skills Plan, one wonders why it wasn’t possible to integrate these key cyber issues areas into the new “national” strategy. As it is these other initiatives have taken place on a separate track or are still outstanding. For instance, the outcome of last summer’s Defence Policy Review contained major new departures for the Canadian Forces in the cyber security realm, and yet the elusive cyber foreign policy (first promised in 2010) has yet to see the light of day. This partial articulation of policy in a highly-interdependent field hardly reinforces the “coherence” claim being made for the strategy.

Continue reading at opencanada.org

Why Canada needs a cyber security foreign policy

Following is an op-ed inspired by the May 24 conference “War or Peace in Cyberspace: Whither International Cyber Security?” in Waterloo for which CPG was a co-sponsor.

Hill Times | June 14, 2018

War or peace in cyberspace? This basic question was the theme of a recent gathering of cyber security experts held at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ont. Unlike many such meetings, the focus was on international policy and the status to be accorded this vital, if vulnerable, environment.

There has been a steady “militarization” of cyberspace in recent years, with states moving from an exclusive focus on cyber defence to an open acknowledgement of offensive cyber capabilities.

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