Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 Hours (5 x 2 hours)
Lecture 14 Hours (14 x 1 hour)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x online blog  10%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 750 word assignment in lieu of online blog  10%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay, if essay element failed  40%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay in lieu of exam, if exam element failed  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Discuss key concepts in the field of cyber security within the context of the security and strategic studies canon of international relations.
2. Apply these concepts through empirical examples.
3. Critically analyse the cyber security discourse.
4. Analyse the significance of a wide variety of trends in cyber security.
5. Demonstrate an empirical and theoretical awareness of the benefits and challenges of cyber warfare.
6. Critically examine the links or disjunctures between military and civil applications of the cyber world.
7. Apply a theoretical understanding to the evolving cyber discourse.

Brief description

This module will examine a focused range of cyber security and cyber warfare issues and as well as analysing current developments will also try to look 'over the horizon' towards what issues might be faced over the next generation. This course will begin by outlining and evaluating some 'fifth generation' military systems in terms of both their military capabilities and how this might be balanced against protection of the nodes which enable these activities to take place. The aim will be to question the extent to which these systems and technology offer a qualitative or quantitative break from the past (such as visual stealth through meta-materials). In terms of the RMA debate this will also discuss the extent to which systems can be 'future proofed' at a time of financial austerity. Are notions of the military-industrial complex helpful lenses to look through? At the state level it has long been recognised that developed nation-states have potential weaknesses within their infrastructure including power stations, links to national grids, hospitals and medical records and ICT hubs (for example) as well as though datalinks and Dedicated Denial of Service attacks. State-of-the-art technologies in particular, with very limited testing or operating experience, mean there is increased risk that something can and will go wrong. In terms of remote warfare there is also the question of how to generate increased situational awareness and guard against the potential for information overload in a cluttered environment? It will also question whether should people remain in the loop? In analysing the current technological environment theories within IR of the ‘Balance of Power’, ‘Power Preponderance’ and the ‘catch up’ phenomena will inform the arguments presented


1. Introduction
2. What is Cyber Warfare?
3. Old Threats and New Challenges?: The Nation-State and traditional politico-military interests.
4. New Threats and New Challenges: Emergent technologies and evolving challenges.
Seminar 1: The challenges posed by the cyber world

5. Current Cyber threats: Connectivity, logic bombs and remote warfare.
6. Future Cyber threats: Inter-connectivity, intelligence sharing or nodal protection?
Seminar 2: The present and future of cyber warfare

7. Threats to the Nation-State: Critical infrastructure and potential vulnerabilities.
8. Threats at the sub-state level: hackers, hacktivists and terrorists.
Seminar 3: Reclaiming the Global Commons? Social media, hackers, hacktivists and terrorists.

9. Civilian technology and applications.
10. Military technology and applications.
Seminar 4: Civilian and military systems: Two sides of the same coin?

11. Cyber Security and the Revolution in Military Affairs debate.
12. Keeping people in the loop – the challenges of the 'digital human'.
Seminar 5: The challenges of the 'digital human'

13. Conclusion
14. Revision & Wash Up Session


The expanding cyber world offers both huge benefits and huge challenges to the everyday lives of millions of people and whose transformative effects are at once readily apparent but difficult to forecast. This course will look at one aspect of the cyber world, that of traditional notions of hard (military) power and the changing dynamics of warfare in the digital age. Risk and casualty aversion are not new and the potential for high speed, long range 'global reach' capabilities which minimise the risk to people and assets have become important considerations for nation-states led by the US and rising powers such as China and India. These issues include the implications of nano-technology, meta materials, hyper sonic propulsion and global reach capabilities balanced against budgetary constraints and the developments of current 'black projects' and the question - should future combat systems be manned or unmanned and the ethical and legal implications. It will also examine how increasing system integration, in terms of intelligent design and intelligence or information sharing, might be exploited at state or sub-state levels through computer viruses such as 'logic bombs' which could potentially render front-line systems such as aircraft or ships vulnerable to relatively low-level cyber-attack (i.e. through targeting GPS and related technologies). It will discuss the current range of systems in operation, development programmes and competitor fifth generation systems and look towards what forms sixth generation systems might take. This also encompasses aircraft carriers and force projection. This includes their capacity for increasing use of stealth technology and low-observable shapes and the need for military planners and intelligence agencies and users to adopt increasing interconnectivity and intelligence and information sharing. This module will set the above range of issues within the wider Strategic and Security Studies canon and discuss whether cyber-warfare and cyber-security represents a new Revolution in Military Affairs. It offers new subject matter which compliments both existing departmental strengths and will add to the Connectivity master's degree scheme.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. This module will particularly test aural and oral communication skills as it involves seminar performance. Students will also be required to submit their essays in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics. The need to prepare for seminar participation and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format and use of and technology such as mobiles, laptops/netbooks and tablets within seminars is encouraged. Students will also be encouraged to search for sources of information on the internet given the nature of the course, as well as seeking sources through electronic information portals (such as Ingenta and CETMONS). Students will also be expected to make use of the resources that will be available on the Blackboard VLE.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statements of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of the on-line blog, the essay as well as the exam alongside preparation for seminar discussions will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider a variety of cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider future possibilities; look for symmetrical and asymmetrical patterns; divide issues into smaller units with a view to the larger picture.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for all elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, a number of which will be highlighted via Blackboard, as well as conventional academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials and to think widely and openly.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas within the module. These subject specific skills include: • How to collect and analyse a wide range of data relating to the module • Evaluate competing perspectives • Demonstrate subject specific research techniques • Apply a range of methodologies to complex contemporary political and social questions.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises, including role plays, in the seminars. Blackboard facilities such as the blog will also be used and students will be encouraged to contribute fully and appropriately to their entries


This module is at CQFW Level 6