Deterrence in Space and Cyberspace

  • Ryder McKeown
  • Alex Wilner
Part of the Canada and International Affairs book series (CIAF)


Deterrence is an enduring concept. And yet the way it is put into practice changes with the times and circumstances. This chapter examines the challenges and opportunities Canada faces in applying deterrence by punishment, denial and delegitimization to space and cyberspace. Building off American approaches to deterrence in both of these emerging strategic domains and with a focus on doctrine and policy, we outline a Canadian approach to space and cyber deterrence that recognizes Canadian limitations, builds on Canadian strengths and serves Canadian interests. We argue that Canada must develop international norms of responsible behaviour in space and cyberspace to help curb certain behaviour (delegitimization), work with allies and the private sector to develop space and cyber systems that are resilient to attack (denial) and explore the utility of retaliatory measures—kinetic or otherwise—in both domains (punishment). By way of conclusion, we suggest Canada place greater attention to the strategic interplay between space, cyberspace and other traditional military domains and re-examine the perennial debate between defence autonomy and integration as it relates to the relationship between American and Canadian deterrence in space and cyberspace.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryder McKeown
    • 1
  • Alex Wilner
    • 2
  1. 1.Political ScienceUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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