A New Framework for Cyber Operations: Reevaluating Traditional Military Activities and Intelligence Collection in the Digital Age

Military personnel in front of large monitors

Maj. Jeremy Watford examines the historic divide between military operations and intelligence collection—particularly when it comes to statutory authority and oversight responsibilities—and discusses how modern cyber operations complicates this separation.

Watford proposes a new framework to resolve the current tensions in military and intelligence operations largely caused by “bureaucratic territoriality” and to account for the way in which cyber operations essentially “dissolve[s] the line bifurcating military and intelligence activities.”

Most significantly, Watford recommends reaffirming the authority of the military to collect cyber intelligence and granting oversight of these military-led intelligence operations to the Congressional Armed Services to create a clear distinction between military and civilian intelligence activities.

By Jeremy Watford

Major Jeremy Watford is a Judge Advocate in the United States Army and currently serves in the Office of the General Counsel at the National Counterterrorism Center. Major Watford previously earned an LL.M. in National Security Law from the Georgetown University Law Center, an LL.M. in Military Law from The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, a J.D. from Tulane University Law School, and a B.A. from Yale University. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the United States Department of Defense, United States Army, or any other government agency.

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