This publication is the second in a series that profiles different "friction points" among nuclear armed and nuclear-allied States, examining issues of contention in their relations that can spark potential conflict and nuclear escalation.
It traces trends both in the development of cyber capabilities and the digitalization of nuclear weapons systems that could drive more frequent interactions at the cyber–nuclear nexus. It considers how these interactions, direct and indirect, might impact on escalatory risk scenarios—drawing upon State doctrines, postures, and capabilities in the nuclear and cyber spheres. It then outlines a series of recommendations for States both to minimize cyber–nuclear interactions and to mitigate their effects when they do occur.
As part of UNIDIR’s ongoing research on nuclear risk reduction, this paper is intended to feed into the dialogue on taking forward risk reduction—and on the development of practical and feasible measures that can help to close pathways to use.
Citation: Wan, Wilfred, Andraz Kastelic, and Eleanor Krabill. 2021, “The Cyber-Nuclear Nexus: Interactions and Risks” NRR: Friction Points Series, Paper 2. Geneva: UNIDIR. https://doi.org/10.37559/WMD/21/NRR/03