‘It Takes a (Global) Village’: Towards a Multi-Actor Networked Conception of Security


  • Keith Scott De Montfort University




Cyber Security, Governance, Civil Defence, Mitigation, Resilience


On December 4th 2023, Oliver Dowden, the British Deputy Prime Minister, issued his first annual resilience statement, outlining the range of threats faced by the United Kingdom, natural, economic, military, and technological. The purpose of this paper is to examine the contemporary threat landscape through the critical lens of complex interdependency (cf Keohane and Nye), and to consider the way in which approaches and theoretical models of threat and threat mitigation can and should (or should not) be applied in different domains. Multi-Domain conflict shows how the modern battlefield is a highly complex realm of interlinked environments (including the non-physical); in the same way, ‘unrestricted warfare’ (Qiao and Wang) collapses the traditional DIME concept of discrete arms of state power. How may a liberal democracy protect itself and its citizens against mis/disinformation, cyber warfare, hacktivism, NSAs and foreign powers ready and able to to wage ‘war’ in a wide range of ways, using IW both as a specific methodology and as a force multiplier for other forms of destabilization.


Focusing largely but not overwhelmingly on the informational realm, the paper will consider models of threat mitigation applied in other domains, from the elite innovative force of the Rifle Brigade to the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic to the behavioural science-based influence campaigns devised by the UK ‘Nudge Unit’ and beyond. It will ultimately argue that a nation which faces a range of internal and external threats to its stability must devise policy and strategy which themselves operate internally and externally. Any approach which is not based on action at all levels of society – civil, military, educational, technical, diplomatic – is doomed to failure before it starts. However, the key challenge will be how to build this in societies which have grown ever more atomised, divided, and opposed to cooperation.

Author Biography

Keith Scott, De Montfort University

Dr Keith Scott is a Senior Lecturer in English Language at De Montfort University (UK), where he is affiliated to the Cyber Security Centre. His research interests include Information Warfare, cWarfare in the Information Age, the human aspects of 'cyber', and Serious Gaming. He is currently working on a study of Communication in conflict.