Defending borders where you can’t identify the absolute threat is a daunting task. The digitalization in modern warfare is an immediate danger to all nations, but too combat and neutralize the enemy might be harder than your traditional armed conflict. (Cohen, 2016; Jones, 2016)
To lead and manage these threats needs thus a good mediation between cross border political projects as well as private players who acts on different set of rules then your government organizations. Hence, the cooperation between private and government organisations is crucial in the digital warfare as the share of internet activity and space is about 80% private commerce and 20% government (North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 2013).
Working and leading on a global level means integrating new ways of communication and authenticity in order to properly capture and harness full capabilities large scale. Not only does the leader or manager convince organisational and/or political leaders. The public needs to be fully aware of the current threat and have the immediate threat translated to them in a way they can fully grasp.
It is crucial that this funnelling of technical information gets communicated in a way to fully engage the public. Most people, even small children are aware of the devastations of war. Even if a very small percentage of the entire population, will ever actively experience war the outcome and effects of bombs, weapons and mines is understood at a very early age.
However, try to explain the danger to adults of DDoS attacks, or vulnerability without 2 step authorising processes within email hosting (Cohen, 2016) and the comprehension will be far less.
Moving into the global working environment, it is crucial that we now educate leaders on a global scaled platform instead of just solving the national focused areas in management dealing with “small” scale organizational problems. Recognizing the need for multicultural perspective goes hand in hand with upscaling the national mindset but might also work for and against national and international demands (Rocksthul, 2011).
Digital warfare might be a way for this platform to truly grow. Putting leaders in an online environment where cultural and ethnical background is not truly apparent can prove invaluable in the ways online leadership and communication.
A rough estimate of global annual attacks goes to 90 million (104 reported in Australia) and has been rising to the most common type of illegal activity in the US (The Economist, 2015). The increase in internet connectivity might be linked to the number of attacks towards nations and organization.
Another reason might be that the anonymity the internet brings makes it very hard to point at a single source where the harmful attacks are originating from. This makes the war on a digital scale, a war in the shadows.
The future of warfare and the commonly known battlefield will most likely undergo severe changes in the upcoming decades. Small scaled resources can bring a different level of devastation than your current military ways, where casualties will remain physically unharmed but affected on a broader scale. The financial, banking, infrastructures and electricity technical structures are exposed towards digital threats pointing towards varied possible outcomes in specific attacks.
The business behind warfare is one of the most profitable industries generating US$402 billion (100 largest arms-manufacturers) a year (Fronlich, Lieberman 2015). The lucratively of digitalized warfare is not any different often needing smaller resources thus making small scale organisations or groups more attracted to engage.
United states expenditure in cyber warfare is now divided into several divisions, however the simple protection-cost ran for about US$3.4 billion (Perera, 2011) in 2011. The security investment is trying to combat the US$ 575 Billion annual global cost of cyber/digital warfare. (The Economist, 2015). Along this, the digital security industry is thriving in new fund threats to defeat and the industry is estimated to turn over US$ 170 billion in 2020.
When looking at the special organisation of cross-border military defence the North Atlantic Treaty Organization often comes to mind. The direct output of NATO’s involvement in conflicts or participation is often regarded as a crucial matter in the definite outcome of the situation. NATO have taken the cyber and digital warfare seriously in the past years, and outlines the absolute key factor in the new threat aspect. Policy advisor Christan-Marc Liflander explains “What is special about the cyber field is when you talk about the whole notion of deterrence — for example, we are able to count the tanks, the planes, the ships, we know what the opponent has. But when it comes to the cyber issue the moment you show what you have you lose it. So that is making the case difficult how do you signal resolve how do you signal your willingness to respond without giving away the very capability that you have? That is making the situation not very transparent — it is difficult to see what is there and what is not.” (Ranger, 2014)
How shall you lead in the online environment of cross border intervention? In traditional warfare, the factions often have a clear leadership structure and hierarchy, where ranking systems, defence budgets or commonly agreed ways of action are set. However, in the digital cloud these borders, agreements and capabilities are blurred. Vigilantes, striving for their sake or the perceived common perception may be as effective in warfare as an entire state, making it hard to define the clear alliance or opposition. People, states and organizations might have different views on how to successfully lead or take charge of a certain situations and restrictions will be hard to enforce due to the openness of the online environment.
The transformational leadership style might prove effective in this environment, as it has a proven rerecord within cross-border leadership (Athina, 2011), however transformational leadership is very much built around cultural differences outlined by Rakesh (Rakesh, 2015). Furthermore, the framework of anonymously leadership need further investigation on how much people are willing to trust and depend on an anonyms leader.