Ranking National Cyber Power
Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center published the “National Cyber Power Index 2020: Methodology and Analytical Considerations.”
We could — and should — argue about the criteria and the methodology, but it’s good that someone is starting this conversation.
Executive Summary: The Belfer National Cyber Power Index (NCPI) measures 30 countries’ cyber capabilities in the context of seven national objectives, using 32 intent indicators and 27 capability indicators with evidence collected from publicly available data.
In contrast to existing cyber related indices, we believe there is no single measure of cyber power. Cyber Power is made up of multiple components and should be considered in the context of a country’s national objectives. We take an all-of-country approach to measuring cyber power. By considering “all-of-country” we include all aspects under the control of a government where possible. Within the NCPI we measure government strategies, capabilities for defense and offense, resource allocation, the private sector, workforce, and innovation. Our assessment is both a measurement of proven power and potential, where the final score assumes that the government of that country can wield these capabilities effectively.
The NCPI has identified seven national objectives that countries pursue using cyber means. The seven objectives are:
- Surveilling and Monitoring Domestic Groups;
- Strengthening and Enhancing National Cyber Defenses;
- Controlling and Manipulating the Information Environment;
- Foreign Intelligence Collection for National Security;
- Commercial Gain or Enhancing Domestic Industry Growth;
- Destroying or Disabling an Adversary’s Infrastructure and Capabilities; and,
- Defining International Cyber Norms and Technical Standards.
In contrast to the broadly held view that cyber power means destroying or disabling an adversary’s infrastructure (commonly referred to as offensive cyber operations), offense is only one of these seven objectives countries pursue using cyber means.
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.