Does Methodological Superiority Lead the Way for SOF into Cyber Operations?

Part of the New Security Challenges book series (NSECH)


The author of Chap. 8 addresses direct action from a new, contemporary, and most relevant perspective—he suggests cyber operations might be a conceptually new way to conduct direct action in future conflicts. Further, a new argument is made: the conceptual similarities between direct action and cyber operations make a theoretical foundation to which the concept of relative superiority can be adapted, therefore providing an equally important understanding of cyber operations through “methodological superiority.”

The study shows that special operations theories cannot explain cases of cyber operations. However, the theory has individual elements that might contribute to a theoretical framing of cyber operations. These elements might also be able to support the explanation of offensive cyber operations and make up an element in a cyber theory. This way, cyber operations can find support in the operational focus that can be found in a developed special operations theory.


Target System Special Operation Special Force Internal Logic Physical Risk 
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  3. Robert G. Spulak Jr, “A Theory of Special Operations: The Origin, Qualities, and use of SOF,” No. JSOU-R-07-7 (Sandia National Labs Albuquerque NM, 2007).Google Scholar
  4. Richard Stiennon, Surviving Cyberwar (Lanham, MD: Government Institutes, 2010).Google Scholar

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