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Buffering: Cybersecurity in the U.S.-Philippine Alliance

Issues & Insights Vol. 22, SR1, pp. 1-8


This study examines the integration of cybersecurity within the U.S.-Philippine alliance. Technological change poses distinct challenges to international alliances by presenting new security threats and vulnerabilities that alliances must adapt to address. Using a process-tracing approach, this article investigates the evolution of cybersecurity within the U.S.- Philippine alliance and whether existing defense arrangements have been effectively leveraged to meet the challenges of a cyber insecure world. It finds that despite initial momentum toward integrating cybersecurity within the alliance, cyber cooperation has largely stalled since 2016. Although the elections of Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump contributed to this malaise, the stagnation also reflects a larger strategic divergence in how Washington and Manila approach the digital domain. This contrasts sharply with other alliances like NATO and must be addressed to sustain alliance activities in cyberspace.

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About this Volume

Authors of this volume participated in the inaugural U.S.- Philippines Next-Generation Leaders Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, through the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines. With backgrounds from academia, public policy, civil society and industry, the cohort brings rich insights on the past, present, and future of the U.S.-Philippines bilateral security relations.

The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. Pacific Forum’s publications do not necessarily reflect the positions of its staff, donors and sponsors.

Gregory Winger is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Fellow with the Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy at the University of Cincinnati. He is also a former Fulbright Scholar to the Philippines and Fellow with the National Asia Research Program.

Photo: Philippine Army-United States Army Pacific during the Cyber Security Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) in Manila, May 14 to 18, 2018. Source: Philippine Army/Public domain