Cyber capabilities and national power

Think tank: IISS

Author(s): Various Authors

June 28, 2021

This report from UK think tank IISS provides a net assessment of cyber capabilities and national power.

The result of two years of study by IISS researchers, this report provides a major new qualitative assessment of 15 countries’ cyber power, as well as a new qualitative framework for understanding how to rank global state cyber capacity.   This report sets out a new methodology for assessing cyber power, and then applies it to 15 states:

  • Four members of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance – the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia
  • Three cyber-capable allies of the Five Eyes states – France, Israel and Japan
  • Four countries viewed by the Five Eyes and their allies as cyber threats – China, Russia, Iran and North Korea
  • Four states at earlier stages in their cyber-power development – India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam 

The methodology differs from the index-based approaches developed by other organisations because it is broader and principally qualitative, analysing the cyber ecosystem of each state and how it intersects with international security, economic competition and military affairs.

The states are assessed in seven categories: 

  • Strategy and doctrine
  • Governance, command and control
  • Core cyber-intelligence capability
  • Cyber empowerment and dependence
  • Cyber security and resilience
  • Global leadership in cyberspace affairs
  • Offensive cyber capability