Instead of setting thresholds, the United States should maintain ambiguity in responding to digital threats. That will ensure security and keep the enemy guessing.
In a strategic environment that has become more volatile, complex, and uncertain, the United States increasingly relies on cyberspace to advance its national interests. Simultaneously, our adversaries, particularly nation states, are afforded more opportunities to undermine our efforts through their own nefarious activities in the digital domain. While not every act in coming years will pose an imminent threat to U.S. national security, economic well-being, or social stability, some will. Because of this, strategists, government leaders, and scholars frequently disagree over whether the United States should establish thresholds (or “red lines”) for responding to such hostile acts. Red-line proponents assert that thresholds can decrease the ambiguity of U.S. policies, bolster deterrence, and facilitate swift, decisive action.