How cyber's forward defense could backfire

headshot of cyber general Paul Nakasone
Lt. General Paul Nakasone, head of U.S. Cyber Commmand. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty

In recent months, the Pentagon has begun taking a more aggressive posture in its approach to cyber conflicts, seeking to slow attacks by taking the fight to enemy networks. But experts worry that approach could escalate cyber conflicts in ways the U.S. may not be prepared to absorb.

How we got here: Cyber Command, the Department of Defense's unified command for cyberwarfare, was conceived under President George W. Bush. It has been elevated in the chain of command under President Trump, who gave it increased autonomy as part of a Defense-wide effort to give the military more agility.