The Missing Cyber Thunder Run: Cyber Operations During the Russo-Ukrainian War | 2023 | Events

The Missing Cyber Thunder Run: Cyber Operations During the Russo-Ukrainian War
Brandon Valerino headshot in a suit and tie with a gray background
Brandon Valeriano
Marine Corps University
March 1, 2023

This article examines the evolving nature of Russia’s use of the cyber/digital domain to disrupt, spy upon, and degrade the adversary. Cyber operations remain a potent modern manifestation of political warfare expanding competition short of war. Yet, during the full-scale invasion that is the Russo-Ukrainian war (2022- ), while we do witness an uptick in cyber operations in this crucial case, there remains limited evidence of events that demonstrate severe or significant attacks directed at an adversary during what might be characterized as total war. In fact, we see a reduction in severity after the full-scale invasion that occurred. Cyber operations that can degrade an adversary’s critical infrastructure are no substitute for conventional attacks. There is also limited evidence for coordinated multidomain operations between military and cyber operators. Despite an increase in cyber operations during the war, there remains little evidence that cyber capabilities change the course of war. 

Brandon Valeriano, (Ph.D.) serves as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Marine Corps University and Senior Advisor to the Cyberspace Solarium Commission 2.0. He was most recently the Donald Bren Chair of Military Innovation at the Marine Corps University at the Krulak Center. He had published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and co-authored two books on cyber security and military strategy. Dr. Valeriano has testified before Congress and the UK Parliament on cyber security issues and served as a Senior Advisor to the Cyber Solarium Commission, which has taken a lead in formulating cyber security strategy and legislative agendas for the United States. Since earning his Ph.D. in Political Science from Vanderbilt University, Dr. Valeriano has also written peer-reviewed articles, opinion pieces, and books on a range of other issues in international security including soccer, diversity, and K-pop/soft power.