Environment Systems and Decisions

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 561–576 | Cite as

Cyber international relations as an integrated system

  • Chintan Vaishnav
  • Nazli Choucri
  • David Clark


The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize the hitherto separate domains of Cyberspace and International Relations into an integrated socio-technical system that we jointly call the cyber International Relations (Cyber-IR) system and to identify and analyze its emergent properties utilizing the methods common to science and engineering systems adapted here for the social sciences. Our work is an exploration in both theory and methodology. This paper (a) identifies the actors and functions in the core systems, Cyberspace, and IR, (b) disambiguates system boundary, (c) creates a design structure matrix (DSM), a matrix of the interdependencies among functions of actors, (d) analyzes DSM qualitatively to show multiple interdependent and heterogeneous Cyber-IR properties, and (e) analyzes quantitatively the differential importance of core functions as well as the impact of actor attributes on influence in Cyber-IR. This work forms a baseline for further understanding of the nature of the heterogeneous influences of the various actors and the various outcomes that could result from it.


Internet Cyberspace International Relations Design structure matrix DSM 



This work is funded by the Office of Naval Research under award number N00014-09-1-0597. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Naval Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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