Institutional structure

From Identifying Difficult Problems in Cyberlaw
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Status Quo

The government structures for responding to cyber-threats are complex, with a number of agencies sharing authority in occasionally overlapping areas.


This chart, while by no means an exhaustive survey of government action in the realm of cybercrime and cyberwar, attempts to plot several of the major actors in those areas as well as the main ways in which those actors are linked together.


Various government and private actors participate in preventing, detecting, and responding to various cyber-threats. Broadly speaking, these actors fall into four different categories:

  • Cyber-specific federal agencies (e.g. Cyber Command)
  • Defense and investigation agencies (e.g. Department of Defense, FBI, CIA, NSA)
  • Independent agencies with relevant concerns and vulnerabilities (e.g. Department of State, Federal Communications Commission)
  • Private corporations


  • Structural
  • Statutory
  • Negotiated cooperation
  • De facto cooperation

Centralization vs. Decentralization

Top-down vs. Bottom-up Institutional Response