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The Fifth Domain: How The US Can Prevent A Potential Cyber War




A laptop displays a message after being infected by a ransomware as part of a worldwide cyberattack on June 27, 2017 in Geldrop.
A laptop displays a message after being infected by a ransomware as part of a worldwide cyberattack on June 27, 2017 in Geldrop.
ROB ENGELAAR/AFP/Getty Images

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The Fifth Domain is a term used by the Pentagon to describe cyberspace, in addition to the other domains of land, sea, air and space.

The Fifth Domain: Defending Our Country, Our Companies, And Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats
The Fifth Domain: Defending Our Country, Our Companies, And Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats

The authors of the book “The Fifth Domain: Defending Our Country, Our Companies, and Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats,” believe the next major war in the U.S. could likely result from a cyber attack. Think Russia and the 2020 elections. The authors say “when it comes to the next election, we can’t expect state-level bureaucrats to fend off military-grade attacks.”

This is something the authors, Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake, brought to the forefront in their 2010 book, “Cyber War”, where they predicted all too real cyber-attacks on national security. 

But there is good news here. Although Clarke and Knake believe the U.S. government as a whole has lacked strategy, laws and regulations, and proper leadership to defend against these types of threats, cyber security could be getting better, not worse. But they make it clear that cyber threats need must be an urgent national priority as we move forward.

​Guest:

Robert Knake, coauthor of the new book, “The Fifth Domain: Defending Our Country, Our Companies, And Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats” (Penguin Press, 2019); former director for cybersecurity policy at the National Security Council (2011 to 2015) under President Obama