An Outlook of Digital Twins in Offensive Military Cyber Operations


  • Clara Maathuis Open University



cyber operations, digital twins, artificial intelligence, explainable AI, responsible AI


The outlook of military cyber operations is changing due to the prospects of data generation and accessibility, continuous technological advancements and their (public) availability, technological and human (inter)connections increase, plus the dynamism, needs, diverse nature, perspectives, and skills of experts involved in their planning, execution, and assessment phases respecting (inter)national aims, demands, and trends. Such operations are daily conducted and recently empowered by AI to reach or protect their targets and deal with the unintended effects produced through their engagement on them and/or collateral entities. However, these operations are governed and surrounded by different uncertainty levels e.g., intended effects prediction, consideration of effective alternatives, and understanding new dimensions of possible (strategic) future(s). Hence, the legality and ethicality of such operations should be assured; particularly, in Offensive Military Cyber Operations (OMCO), the agents involved in their design/deployment should consider, develop, and propose proper (intelligent) measures/methods. Such mechanisms can be built embedding intelligent techniques based on hardware, software, and communication data plus expert-knowledge through novel systems like digital twins. While digital twins find themselves in their infancy in military, cyber, and AI academic research and discourses, they started to show their modelling and simulation potential and effective real-time decision support in different industry applications. Nevertheless, this research aims to (i) understand what digital twins mean in OMCO context while embedding explainable AI and responsible AI perspectives, and (ii) capture challenges and benefits of their development. Accordingly, a multidisciplinary stance is considered through extensive review in the domains involved packaged in a design framework meant to assist the agents involved in their development and deployment.