NATO Topic Argument Outline with Explanation

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DebateUS! NATO Files —

Updated 9-4-22

This essay outlines the major arguments on the topic, with links to relevant camp files and DebateUS! files. Errors or omissions? Contact us at

***Intro and Topicality***

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in one or more of the following areas: artificial intelligence, biotechnology, cybersecurity.

The resolution calls for the United States Federal Government (USFG) to increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in one of the following areas: artificial intelligence (A.I.), biotechnology or cyber security.

There are some key terms in the resolution, some of which introduce some topicality questions.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a security organization that was formed after World War II with the purpose of uniting “Western” countries that were largely democratic and organized free market economies.

At present, NATO has 30 members. In 1949, there were 12 founding members of the Alliance: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. The other member countries are: Greece and Türkiye (1952), Germany (1955), Spain (1982), the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland (1999), Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia (2004), Albania and Croatia (2009), Montenegro (2017) and North Macedonia (2020).

Finland and Sweden are now poised to join as a result of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.

As you can see, there were 16 NATO member countries before 1999.  Starting in 1999, 16 additional countries joined, all of which were previously aligned with Russia or were part of the former Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991, freeing former countries that were tied to its orbit and resulting in some becoming independent countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, commonly referred to as the “Baltics”) were once part of the former Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev, who died recently (8-30-22) was the last president of the Soviet Union. He introduced many economic reforms that arguably led to its economic, and consequently geopolitical, collapse. Vladimir Putin has arguably ridden the angst caused by the collapse of the former Soviet Union to power and arguably seeks to restore the former Soviet empire. He has spoken strongly against NATO expansion, which he sees as a threat to Russia’s security and was strongly opposed to even the possibility of the Ukraine joining NATO. If you look at the above map, you can see where that concern comes from.

Security Cooperation. There are two issues related to “security cooperation.”

First, what is included in security cooperation?

Arabia ’21 [Christina; May 17; CRS Analyst in Security Assistance, Security Cooperation and the Global Arms Trade; Congressional Research Service, “Defense Primer: DOD “Title 10” Security Cooperation,”]

Security Cooperation (SC) Overview

The Department of Defense (DOD) uses the term security cooperation (SC) to refer broadly to DOD interactions with foreign security establishments. SC activities include

  • the transfer of defense articles and services;
  • military-to-military exercises;
  • military education, training, and advising; and
  • capacity building of partner security forces.

Most evidence says this does not include direct combat support/US forces fighting.

There are, of course, other detailed debates about what is included in the category that you can find in the topicality files, but this gives you a general idea.

The second question related to security assistance is what agency of the US government implements it? There is a strong (and popular) argument that security cooperation must be implemented through the Department of Defense (DOD).

Quinn ’19 [Major Jason A. Quinn; 2019; Judge Advocate in the United States Army; the Military Law Review, “Other Security Forces Too: Traditional Combatant Commander Activities Between U.S. Special Operations Forces and Foreign Non-Military Forces,” vol. 227]

Under this definition, “security sector assistance” includes the relevant policies, programs, or activities of any executive agency. Complicating matters, though, Congress has considered a proposed definition for “security sector assistance” that, in contrast to the presidential policy definition,130 encompasses DoS programs, but not DoD or other executive agency programs.131 In addition, Congress has defined “security cooperation” as DoD specific,132 but it has not defined “security assistance.”

The DoD adheres to the presidential policy definition and further defines “security cooperation” as all its relationship building and foreign partner development activities, including “security assistance,” which the DoD defines as a subset of security cooperation that is funded and authorized by the DoS and administered by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.133 The DoS, on the other hand, uses the term “security assistance” in a manner that contradicts the DoD’s definition, employing it to describe any DoS or DoD assistance to foreign military or other security forces.134

This argument is important because it sets-up the counterplan to do the plan through the Department of State (DOS), with DOD trade-off arguments as net-benefits.

Its.  “Its” is generally considered to be possessive, which means the US can only increase its security cooperation, not cooperate with a third party such as another country to increase security cooperation.

Brent ’10 [Douglas F.; June 2; attorney; “Reply Brief on Threshold Issues of Cricket Communications, Inc.,” online:]

Clearly, the use of the pronoun “its” in this context is possessive, such that the term “its” means – that particular carrier’s agreement with AT&T (and not any other carrier’s agreement).

With. “With” generally means in collaboration.

Colangelo ’10 [Anthony; September; Assistant Professor of Law, SMU Dedman School of Law; “ARTICLE: THE FOREIGN COMMERCE CLAUSE,” Virginia Law Review, 96 Va. L. Rev. 949]

Rather, for Congress to regulate local foreign conduct pursuant to a comprehensive international regulatory scheme, that scheme must be created “with foreign Nations.”134 In this sense, the word “with” contemplates agreement or cooperation with foreign nations in establishing the scheme, without which Congress cannot extend U.S. law over local foreign conduct to effectuate that scheme.

This means that unilateral foreign policy changes are not topical. I think this is very important because most of the plans (wrongly) assume that NATO countries would simply go along with the suggested standards in biotech, cybersecurity and AI. In most cases this would likely be ridiculous.

Artificial Intelligence. AI generally refers to using machines to match human intelligence.

Chiles ’19 [John and Clara Reyes; 2019; Partner at Burr & Forman LLP; Assistant Professor of Law and Director of R&D at Michigan State Law School and Faculty Associate at Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University; “Robot Loans: Artificial Intelligence and Its Place in Consumer Finance?,” 73 Consumer Fin. L.Q. Rep. 205, WestLaw]

Abest consensus definition of artificial intelligence is that it’s a broad term, an umbrella term, used to refer to a large set of information science. It’s best understood as a set of techniques aimed at approximating some aspect of human cognition using machines.And the main takeaway is that, although we use the term “artificial intelligence” as though it’s monolithic, it’s really not. It covers a range of sub fields, which include, and I should say “but is not limited to” as lawyers say, neural networks, vision, data mining, expert systems, robotics, natural language processing, natural language understanding, planning, and evolutionary computation.

Biotechnology. Biotechnology is generally broadly defined in the military context.

Melson ‘4 [Ashley; 2004; Associate, The Barkley Law Firm, PC. B.S. P.T., University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 1997 and J.D., Valedictorian, University of Tulsa College of Law; “Bioterrorism, Biodefense, and Biotechnology in the Military: A Comparative Analysis of Legal and Ethical Issues in the Research, Development, and Use of Biotechnological Products on American and British Soldiers,” 14 Alb. L.J. Sci. & Tech. 497, lexis]

Biology, 1 one of the three primary natural sciences, like its counterpart sciences of chemistry and physics, uses the experimental method 3 Unlike its counterparts, however, the study of biology inherently involves living things, including human beings. 4 Because of this distinction, which implicates both human rights and the Hippocratic Oath, 5 the experimental method becomes legally and ethically unacceptable as a means of studying biology, at least when human subjects are involved. 6 Further, knowledge gleaned in this science does not truly come to fruition until applied and used in the real world through technological innovations, thus the term “biotechnology.”

Ultimately, this question is presented: Do the benefits of biotechnology outweigh risks associated with these unresolved issues? The answer may depend on what stands to be lost if testing and use of biotechnology products is not pursued. In the public health context, these products provide potential solutions to pressing concerns in the national, as well as global, arena. Developments in genetically engineered foods and drugs, for example, pose alternatives to addressing issues of world hunger and disease. In the medical context, biotechnology products have revolutionized health care by providing new options for injury and illness prevention, as well as treatment, in the form of pharmaceuticals, procedures, and devices.

Also affected on a global scale and, perhaps, ever so evident with the recent threats of bioterrorism, are the opportunities biotechnology presents in the military context, 20 which is defined as “the exploitation and manipulation of biological systems to benefit overall military capability.” 21 [21]Dr. Steve Nicklin, Medical Issues: The Future Impact of Biotechnology on Human Factors, in NATO Research & Technology

Cybersecurity.  Cybersecurity, especially for NATO, entails preventive and preemptive (offensive) action.

There are additional topicality arguments in the topicality files (MI, MI Supplement, MI Supp 3, MI supp 4, MI AT All, SDI, CNDI, NW, Georgetown, UNT, NDCA)


Since affirmative cases often have similar advantages, I think it is useful to group them for discussion, though there are many advantages that are specific to the topic areas and plans.

Although teams may not always be prepared to debate every specific plan, if they can debate the advantages (there really are only so many), they can outweigh the affirmative case with their disadvantages.

Security. Collaboration will be critical to security improvements in one of the areas and impacts will focus on deterring Russia and/or other actors (especially China), both generally and by preventing them from out-competing the West (the US and NATO countries) in these areas.

Russia threat claims are often general (to all of Europe) and are sometimes specific (Baltics) (DebateUS! Russia threat files)  (DebateUS! Russia-US War files)

While most people think about Europe and deterrence against Russia when thinking about NATO, NATO is also taking on an expanded role in deterring China and many affirmative advantage claims stem from preventing aggression from China (DebateUS! files). As with Russia, sometimes the claims are general (China’s aggression in Asia/its desire for world domination or its potential threat to Taiwan.

NATO Unity/Cohesion. Though this will likely be overwhelmed one way or the other due to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine (Kutner), fostering unity between NATO countries is important to strengthening deterrence. Cooperative technology development, and co-development of standards related to the technology, could strengthen such cohesion.

There can also be a general claim related to cooperation and relations. Collaboration is important to improving ties with NATO and that strong relations between the US and NATO are important (the impact).  There are other ways the US and NATO can increase ties, so affirmative teams will have to prove the area is a critical place to build ties. They will, of course, also have to contend with the basic response that ties improved dramatically as a result of the Ukraine crisis. The US is also cooperating closely with the European Union. Alternative, negative teams can take the “can’t solve” approach, arguing that economic pressures generated by the Ukraine will inevitably undermine NATO unity.

This NATO unity/cohesion advantage can be found in nearly every camp 1AC. this isn’t because the advantage is substantively strong (the link cards are usually mediocre at best and NATO cohesion is likely driven by much larger factors (war in the Ukraine, underlying economic and geopolitical trends), but the advantage is strategic. Why? Because technology development and cooperation can obviously occur in these areas outside of NATO (and there are probably more articles arguing it should occur elsewhere than there are those arguing it should (let alone must and/or NATO is the best place for it). To help answer counterplans to cooperate through other forums, teams claim this unity/cohesion advantage.

Technology development. Teams will claim technology development advantages within these three areas. Since all military research has civilian applications, it is easy to foresee wider developments to advances in these areas.  It will be important for teams to identify why NATO is critical to that technology development, as teams will be able to run counterplans to develop the technology unilaterally, bilaterally with other countries or with the European Union. The importance of US/Western technology leadership in these areas is often claimed (DebateUS! files)

Standards/Norms/Democracy. Many teams are claiming advantages that stem from the cooperative development of standards that govern the technology that is the subject of the case (AI, Biotech, cyber security). While this is great strategically (aff teams will use it to answer the harms of the technology and any unilateral action counterplans), weaknesses lie in why such collaboration has to be with NATO (as opposed to the EU or the UN or China) and how effective it will be: What incentive does China have to cooperate on standards setting with the US/NATO? Smart negative debaters will heavily scrutinize the nonsense peddled by the evidence (assuming it actually says that) of these advantages.

The technology development and norms/standards arguments will often be combined to make a technology leadership claim that argues that Western (US, Western allies) leadership in these technologies will prevent China from dominating in these technologies and engaging in global repression/undermining democracy.  This is especially true related to claims about A.I. and cyber security. (DebateUS! files)

Cybersecurity development. With nearly everything in society moving online, protection against cyber attacks has become essential. With the war in the Ukraine magnifying the risks with repeated Russian (and US) cyber attacks, the importance of protecting Western militaries and civil society from cyber attacks has grown. A successful attack could collapse the economy and undermine the military and risk global military escalation (DebateUS! files)

The advantages discussed above are the most commonIf you are prepared to debate these advantages you will be prepared to debate most cases. A few additional less common advantages are discussed below and a few others are integrated in the discussion on plans.

AI development. AI has many military applications. Generally speaking, AI can be used to create autonomous weapons that can be used on the battlefield without humans to defeat enemies and also have defensive applications in that AI applications can generally think faster than humans and potentially make better real-time decisions. That latter can be essential when under attack. There are many civilian applications, including advancements in industry and those that can improve the quality of life. There are many environmental applications as well.

Biotechnology development. Advances in the biological sciences can help save lives in battle and strengthen the ability to fight. Civilian spin-offs include benefits in the economy and health care.

Economic growth good. Advances in these areas are likely to strengthen the economy. (DebateUS! economy impacts and Dedev files)

Space. Technology improvements in these A.I.  are likely to facilitate outer space exploration. We might need to protect our satellites from cyber attacks to effectively explore outer space

Hegemony good. As has been the case since the 1980s, teams will argue the plan increases overall US hegemony, which is needed to prevent global conflict. (DebateUS! Hegemony good and bad files, hegemony updates)

Morality. Some teams may argue that our current approach to NATO is immoral. For example, the case that requires human intervention in AI decision-making claims that failure to include humans is immoral.

Less common advantages include (DebateUS! files are hyper linked:  Bioterrorism, Climate Change, International Law, Terrorism (general, nuclear), Food prices/famine. All DebateUS impact defense files are hereThere is impact defense here for every occaision 🙂


I always separate the plans from the advantages because the advantages discussed above are quite common and the plans below simply represent ways to access them/solve for them. In a given debate season, there are often many different plans, but there are far fewer advantages and if you start by preparing to debate those, the list of plans is less overwhelming. There are, of course, some advantages that are more unique to specific plans and I’ve covered them here as well.

To make things conceptually easier, I’ve also tried to break the cases down into types of cases.

General Cooperation in the Area of a Particular Technology Type.

Biotech cooperation/standards.  This Michigan Starter Packet version of the case argues the US needs to cooperate with NATO to set-standards and develop biotech so that China does not lead and that biotech can be put to good use (food security, reduce biodiversity loss) and kept out of the hands of terrorists. The case claims that NATO setting the standards will draw China in so its biotech operates appropriately (laugh test…).  A supplemental version of the case argues that biotech can be good but that cooperation is needed to prevent a biological arms race and a  disease outbreak and that open communication on biotech is needed to strengthen NATO’s soft power and diplomatic credibility. Michigan Neg.Neg IIMichigan case update. UTNIF neg

The Gonzaga Debate Institute (GDI) version of the case (Plan:The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation over biotechnology with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.) claims three advantages; (1) US biotechnology leadership is needed to deter bioweapons development and use;; (2) NATO (allied) cooperation prevents bio theft; (2) US biotech leadership needed to prevent China’s biotech leadership and protect the US economy; and (3) (generally, not specific to biotech) US cooperation with NATO prevents democratic backsliding and war in Europe. Supplement  GDI Neg I. GDI Neg II

There is an NDCA version of the case that claims the US should cooperate with NATO on vaccine development and distribution in order to challenge China’s global leadership. NDCA vaccine neg

An MSDI version of the case also claims that the US should cooperate with NATO on vaccines. The case claims this would develop resilience against bioterror attacks and promote biossafety.

General cooperation in the area of AI. There are basically three types of cases in the area of AI.

The first type of case accelerates AI development for the purpose of warfare.  The second type attempts to govern/regulate the use of AI in warfare. The third type attempts to prohibit any lethal autonomous use (use without a human final decision-maker) in warfare.  There are a many that attempt to combine the first two, attempting to argue that the US should work with NATO to develop it but also to develop it in a safe way and supposedly in a safe way that other countries such as Russ and China will model (haha).

First, I will discuss cases that accelerate the use of AI for warfare. These are often referred to as AI logistics and AI interoperability affs.

AI military logistics pilot projects. This Michigan Starter file version of the case argues that cooperation in AI with NATO in this way is important both to strengthen NATO and facilitate the development of standards that make AI more transparent and governable in a way that hopes to avoid the harms of AI. CNDI neg. UTNIF neg  MI neg 

This UNT version is similar (The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in artificial intelligence by
● Establishing a 10-year roadmap for upgrading data interoperability. ● A set of definitions over how AI should be used. ● Create a process for collecting technical and policy knowledge from international interactions with AI.).  It claims to deter cyber attacks, protect US hegemony vis-a-visa China in AI (it claims China’s AI advancements will undermine US leadership), and support the development of governance and norms and claims to regulate the development of AI, which is inevitable, in order to prevent the worst uses of it.

The Spartan Debate Institute (SDI) case is very similar (Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase security cooperation with NATO by establishing standards to interoperate Artificial Intelligence technology into future NATO operations). The case claims to prevent China from leading in AI and it also claims an advantage not found in other cases: enforcement/protection of arms control measures that are needed to prevent nuclear war. “Add-On” advantages include strengthening NATO through interoperability, strengthening democracy, enforcing arms control agreements against North Korea, and disease surveillance.

This CNDI case is similar to the SDI case (Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization over artificial intelligence-enabled military logistics and sustainment projects). The case claims that cooperation with NATO on AI will strengthen interoperability and deterrence (including nuclear deterrence) and protect AI from China’s leadership which will result in a loss of democracy.

The Texas case is also similar ( The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization over the use of artificial intelligence in military logistics and sustainment.).  The advantages are similar to what has been discussed but have some unique spins: (1) AI critical to advances in the supply chain that are needed to protect the defense industrial base and US hegemony; (2) AI coordination with NATO (and other allies) is critical to deter Russia and China; and (3) AI cooperation/standards/norm setting key to prevent China’s AI dominance and global authoritarianism.

Teams may choose a specific area such as drones or tanks. The NAUDL version of the case has a very general plan and claims to strengthen AI in order to deter Russia and China. There are also vague references to standards for cooperation.

AI in Precision Guided Munitions (PGMS). This Michigan camp case    (supplement) argues the US should cooperate with NATO in the development of PGMS that use AI for targeting. The case claims that this will prevent more Russian aggression in the Ukraine and the spread of Russian aggression into the Baltics. It also claims to strengthen the defense industrial base. Michigan Neg. Michigan aff file update Neg II

The update includes an argument that providing PGMS will strengthen Lockheed Martin’s financial outlook and support the development of hypersonic weapons that are needed to generally deter the outbreak of conflict.

AI in submarine warfare/maritime domain awareness. This Michigan camp case argues that the US and NATO need to collaborate on AI development for Russian submarine tracking and (potentially) overall maritime domain awareness. It claims to deter Russia and avoid the harms of the cutting of undersea cables, as with AI subs could function autonomously without the cables. Cables defense Case neg

Again, some of these cases combine advocacy for the development of AI with governance/standards/regulations in order to argue they just promote the best use without causing any harms.

This DDI version (he United States federal government should establish technical standards for artificial intelligence with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) focuses on the more military aspects, claiming that AI development with NATO will enable the West to prevent China’s leadership in AI and deter Russian aggression through hybrid warfare.

Another MI case argues the US should develop intellectual property standards will help develop AI norms and advance AI in a way that san solve global warming, protect biodiversity, and enable space colonization.

[DebateUS! Interoperabilty and Logistics case neg; DebateUS! AI Standards/Governance Neg]

A second set of cases focuses on governing the use of AI to regulate it in a way that prevents harms.

AI Testing and Evaluation (Testing Evaluation Verification). This case argues that there is a rush to deploy AI in military applications now and that the rush risks arms races, cyber conflict, and nuclear escalation. It argues for testing and evaluation of AI to ensure safe/stable AI applications. Michigan Neg

The Georgetown version of the case argues for (plan): “The United States federal government should increase its cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to restrict its use of artificial intelligence to principles of responsible use.” This is the solvency card they claim says that all other NATO countries will go along.

I guess that other NATO members will just let the US dictate whatever “responsible use is.” The case claims this will promote NATO interoperability and unity, deterring Russia and generally preventing aggression. It also claims to strengthen AI “norms” that supposedly other countries will follow.

This means that other countries around the world will become democratic/stop the turn to authoritarianism and democracy is key to global peace. The DDI version has a similar plan: (The United States federal government should implement unified artificial intelligence norms with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization). “Norms”/”Principles of Responsible Use” — Yada, Yada, Yada.

This version also claims interoperability and even claims that China will accept/adopt the norms (LOL), even though the link evidence says nothing of the sort (and it’s written by someone with a BS in Computer Science):

Georgetown neg MSDI neg.

DebateUS! Governance/Standards for AI Neg

Ethical AI/Ban LAWS. While the above cases focuses more on the practical benefits of AI and the policy benefits of developing standards and norms, there is a common set of cases that prohibit the development of Lethal Autonomous (A.I driven) Weapons). These cases generally prohibit the use of autonomous weapons in warfare unless a human makes a final “kill” decision (requiring a human to make the final “kill” decision could be considered a “regulation” so there is a bit of bleed with the last case area).

From the Michigan Starter Pack: This affirmative plan calls for human control – a “human in the loop” who has final say over AI functions. It has the US engage NATO in establishing ethical principles, known as RAI (responsible AI use), for all NATO operations and weapons. There are three reasons for this:

Advantage 1 – Cohesion. If everyone in NATO is on the same page and coordinated on technology and tactics, that is called Interoperability. The command, political, and public will to get coordinated is called Cohesion. Interoperability and Cohesion are the foundation of effective coalition military forces and operations. AI threatens to disrupt that cohesion and interoperability. If the US has Fully Autonomous weapons, and Italy does not, then those weapon systems will have trouble interoperating (not sure if that is a word). If the US is using mostly automated systems, and France is sending mostly human troops, then France might ask why they should risk French lives when the US is not. If the US spends A Lot on Fully Autonomous weapons, but Lithuania doesn’t have that technology, then the US might feel that other nations are not sharing the burden. If the British public opposes LAWs, and they are in a conflict allied with the US, who is using LAWs, then the British public might demand that their government stop supporting the operation. Or the US might perceive that the UK would stop supporting it. Dialogue to cooperate to establish norms for AI throughout the alliance would improve cohesion and interoperability, which makes for a more effective and credible NATO, which stops a nuclear war.

Advantage 2 – Crisis Instability. Many of the new AI weapons are “brittle” – they tend to react poorly when the situation goes outside of their programmed parameters. Like if the Ukrainians put reflective tape on stop signs to disorient the Russian drones piloted by AI. For example, without a human in the loop, AI accelerates battle decisions to machine speed. If something goes wrong, it goes Really Wrong Really Fast, without anyone able to check the escalation to nuclear war. Back in the 80’s, Russian Early Warning Radars detected what it thought to be a US nuclear attack and signaled that to Soviet Rocket Command. But a Lieutenant Colonel – Petrov – trusted his gut instinct and said “Maybe is birds, comrade.” Crisis averted. AI would have sent the nuclear weapons in a split second. There are many crises in the future for Europe, and miscalculation or instability in them could escalate a conflict accidentally or mistakenly. Human control would provide a stop in the escalation chain to prevent war.

Advantage 3 – Human Dignity. Autonomous AI weapons would make decisions about life and death by algorithm. The soldiers who are killed would just be part of a decision tree – depersonalized and objectified. Civilian casualties would become data points. This is unethical because it does not respect human dignity. Now, to be clear – all war is undignified. A human soldier shooting you leaves you just as dead as an autonomous drone. However, that soldier shares your humanity. They feel compassion, and hope, and empathy, and regret. They know what it means to take a life because they value their own. AI has none of that – it cannot “know” what it means to kill or die, because it cannot “feel” life. For better or worse, if war involves lethal decisions, the choice to kill another person should be made by a person. International and Human Rights laws are founded on the principle of Human Dignity. Our actions, arguments, motives and intentions must respect the Dignity of all persons. Death by algorithm does not respect the dignity of individual people, because AI cannot “know” what it means to be alive. (This is where the Cybernetics K comes in…) This is a deontological argument, not a consequential or utilitarian one. It says that before you decide if the plan has good or bad outcomes, you first have to determine whether it is Right or Wrong. If AI weapons are unethical, you never even evaluate if they have good consequences – that is the Ethics First framework argument.

A supplement is here. The NDCA version of the novice case is identical.

This second version of the Michigan case is similar.  This Missouri State case is basically the same (The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by banning Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems).

I’ve always wondered now this would work since I’ve never seen a piece of evidence that NATO countries would agree to this (at least not all of them).  This case has a solvency card talking about other countries but not NATO.

Ironically, one of the advantages this case claims is NATO cohesion. Given that most NATO countries support AI integration, it seems like this would wreck NATO cohesion.  All of the interoperability advantages referenced above are also disadvantages to this affirmative case. The case also claims democracy, terrorism and war escalation advantages.

A Michigan version os the ban case argues that use of LAWs discriminates against women.

NDCA Novice Neg MSDI neg

DebateUS! LAWS Ban Neg

One thing that is important to understand is that the affirmative cases that focus on military development of AI for deterrence purposes all contain negative arguments against governance/standards and human control cases because the plans in those areas will undermine the development of AI (there are links in the respective case negative files. As long as you can win that China and/or Russia will not model the plan’s regulation(s)/standards(s) (easy and there is evidence in the files on that, you can win that the US military will be at a significant disadvantage. Similarly, the evidence in the governance/standards cases that focuses on the dangers of AI is negative against cases that develop military applications for AI. As long as you win that the standards/regulations fail (easy), then you can win those cases can’t solve the disadvantages.

Cyber Cases. There are four different types of cases that deal with cyber security cooperation:

(1) NATO increasing the deployment of offensive cyber operations (Russia is usually the target claimed in the case);
(2) cases that build cyber resilience (more defensive cyber operations), with some focusing specifically on securing outer space assets;
(3) cases that help define how NATO will respond to a cyber attack;
(4) cases that share more information within NATO as to how to respond to a cyber attack.

Sometimes plans will combine some of these ideas.

Offensive cyber operations. An offensive cyber operation involves attacking an opponent’s cyber systems.  The Australian Strategic Policy Institute offers this definition of an OCO:

There is considerable concern about state-sponsored offensive cyber operations, which this paper defines as operations to manipulate, deny, disrupt, degrade, or destroy targeted computers, information systems or networks….

This paper proposes a definition of offensive cyber operations that is grounded in research into published state doctrine, is compatible with definitions of non-kinetic dual-use weapons from various weapons conventions and matches observed state behaviour.

In this memo, we clearly differentiate offensive cyber operations from cyber espionage. We address espionage only in so far as it relates to and illuminates offensive operations. Only offensive cyber operations below the threshold of armed attack are considered, as no cyber operation thus far has been classified as an armed attack, and it appears that states are deliberately operating below the threshold of armed conflict to gain advantage

Camps with OCOs affs include (Michigan file 2 aff, Michigan file 3Neg, Neg 2, Neg 3) and GDI

(DebateUS! Offensive cyber operations Aff and Neg)

Common advantages in the cases include deterring Russia, aggression, deterring aggression by China and stopping escalation to physical (kinetic) violence. They also claim that integrated OCOs will boost NATO cohesion.

The GDI case claims the US engages in OCOs now but that the operations would be less destabilizing if they are conducted through NATO. The Georgetown version (supplement1, supplement2) also makes this argument.

Resilience/defensive cyber operations. Defensive cyber operations and resilience measures include strengthening network security, sharing security information, conducting foresight analysis and developing cyber codes of conduct (GDI). The cases claim to strengthen NATO unity and prevent countries such as Russia and China as well as non-state actors from engaging in cyber attacks. Two specific GDI advantages (supplemental file) include protecting space assets and the supply chain.  This NAUDL case makes a very general argument for defensive cyber security.

This Michigan case argues for more cyber cooperation to deter Russian aggression in the Baltic states. The case claims that it has to be done through NATO in order to get Baltic cooperation on renewable energy that will solve climate change globally.

This DDI case focuses specifically on securing outer space assets from cyber attacks (Thus, the plan: The United States federal government should engage [smth security coop-y like certification/training] with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to apply a Cyber Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) standard for space assets). The case claims to secure space assets from Russian ASAT attacks, protect ground-based space assets from attacks, secure missile defense and strengthen the private space industry (investors will be more likely to make investments if space assets are secure). DDI Neg I. DDI Neg II

This Michigan case argues that the US needs to cooperate with NATO in the area of cyberspace security in outer space by hardening (increasing the physical security of) its satellites and building domain awareness that is necessary to protect against solar storms and monitor the environment.  This similar version  argues that NATO needs to deter attacks from China in space and the plan also includes the Article 5 commitment (below). Michigan Neg. Michigan File II

Article 5.  NATO’s Article 5 commits all countries in NATO to defending any country in NATO that has been attacked. Although Article 5 was only invoked one time in history (after 9-11), it is considered the bedrock of deterrence in the alliance.

All of the plans work to clarify the conditions under which NATO countries response to  a cyber attack can include invoking Article 5.

Article 5 cases can go in one of two directions: They can either essentially make it more likely that NATO will respond or make it less likely that NATO will respond (though most cases try to have it “both ways:” the most proper and effective response).

This DDI case (The United States Federal Government should clarify its commitment under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty to include responding to cyber attacks, at least including information warfare) arguably makes it more likely because information warfare alone could become the justification for an attack. The case claims to deter Russia, especially in information warfare, and promote NATO unity.

It also claims that a clear standard for cyber attacks invoking A5 is needed in order to avert escalatory wars (though this seems to lower the threshold for a response quite dramatically), which is a common argument. For example, see this card from the Harvard case file.

The Emory camp plan (The United States federal government should increase its security commitment under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty to include responding to cybersecurity threats, including information warfare) is similar and claims a “straight up” advantage related to deterring Russian cyber attacks.

A different DDI case arguably makes it less likely that NATO will respond (Plan: The United States federal government should cooperate with NATO to establish thresholds upon which a cyberattack constitutes an armed attack under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty).

The first solvency card in the case articulates limited conditions under which NATO would respond.

Similarly, Lonergram argues the threshold should be increased so that only a massive cyber attack would trigger a collective response. Frydenborg makes a similar argument.   See also: Landay

The case claims that articulating a credible standard for response under Article 5 would strengthen NATO’s deterrence credibility and the ability of allies to respond together.

For attacks that fall below that threshold (or are questionable from a threshold perspective), the case claims that NATO’s Article IV consultation would be invoked, which would strengthen deterrence and enable an appropriate response.  It argues that a clear standard would be better than a an approach of “strategic ambiguity” (the status quo), which would tempt Russia to be aggressive (attack the Baltics and engage in a cyber attack that would destroy US infrastructure) and undermine deterrence.

The also claims to develop effective offensive cyber operations, arguing that the US uses OCOs now but they are not effective and even destabilizing because their role is not clearly articulated.

As discussed in the introduction to the Article 5 cases, the plans are generally ambiguous but mostly have NATO take a stronger stance against cyber aggression (information warfare alone triggers a response (DDI 1), any cyber attack can trigger a response (Emory) vs. an attack has to be cyber plus other things (include physical attacks+) for there to be a response (DDI 2).

This Northwestern plan (The United States federal government should increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to clarify the conditions under which Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty can be activated in response to cyber threats) doesn’t even fake a position. The plan could obviously raise or lower the threshold for a cyber response. The solvency evidence discusses responding to cyber attacks with only cyber attacks and focusing on cyber resilience rather than retaliation, It also claims that any over-aggressive response to a typical cyber threat will undermine international norms/law on cyber space.

The NDCA novice version of the case is very similar to the Northwestern one (Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by clarifying cyberwarfare within the North Atlantic Treaty). It doesn’t say what the clarification includes or the direction of it, but the solvency evidence suggests expanding the definition of “attack” to one that causes physical harm as well as one that spreads disinformation.

Like the other cases, it claims  “ambiguity” over how NATO would respond to a cyber attack fails to deter Russian aggression.

The NDCA novice version of the case also claims that a lack of consensus over how international law applies to cyberspace threatens to undermine all of international law and that agreeing in Article 5 would resolve this.  This seems like quite a stretch, as I don’t see (a) how non-Western powers would accept a Western definition (especially one arrived at through a NATO agreement) of what constitutes an attack and a reasonable response and (b) all of the other massive violations of international law by Western and non-Western powers, but so it goes :).

The Harvard version of the case is very similar, arguing that NATO should define what a an appropriate “proportional response” to a cyber attack is.  The plan also says the US should facilitate cyber interoperability with NATO (The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the area of cyber, by defining proportional response and increasing interoperability). Harvard neg Neg   Neg II  Neg III Neg IV

More Article 5 negs: DDI Emory Northwestern

On a related note, Kraterou argues it is already NATO policy but that all of the 30 countries in NATO would be unlikely to agree on what constitutes a significant enough cyber attack to merit a collective response.  

Attribution and information sharing. A third set of cybersecurity cases deal with sharing information related to cyber attacks among NATO allies.

The Michigan State (SDI) version argues that NATO countries should share information about cyber attacks in order to strengthen cyber deterrence.

It also claims that a lack of good information will undermine NATO’s ability to properly attribute attacks, crushing cohesion and deterrence.  The CNDI version (supplement) is almost identical. DDI neg  SDI neg

The Dartmouth Camp argues that the US should work with NATO to name and shame actors involved in cyber attacks. It claims to deter attacks, disrupt attacks and deny attacks by mobilizing a private sector response.  It also argues that in the status quo any attribution will be made unilaterally (by one country), undermining deterrence and risking retaliation.

Although the plans and approaches vary, all of the Article 5 causes claim to reduce the “strategic ambiguity” that is the cornerstone of NATO’s current A5 response. They claim that this ambiguity will result in NATO infighting, make it more likely that individual countries choose overly aggressive responses and both fail to deter and invite Russian aggression.

Cyber cooperation with India (The United States federal government should substantially increase its cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization through a collaborative cybersecurity partnership with the Republic of India). This DDI case is a bit difficult to categorize because it doesn’t specify (or suggest) if the cyber cooperation is more offensive or defensive (perhaps it is both) and it includes a third country (topicality…). The case claims to stop global disinformation that undermines democracy, prevent cyber attacks on the grid, strengthen India’s defense and strengthen NATO in a way that will increase its ability to deter China. DDI neg

Ban OCOs. Moving in the opposite direction, this case argues for banning OCOS. Neg

General cyber advantage defense (CNDI) and GDI file. GDI II

Information Warfare.  This case argues that the US should increase cooperation with NATO to defend against information by warfare by Russia. It argues that Russian success in information warfare will lead to right wing populism in Europe, trigger an invasion of the Baltics, undermine efforts to prevent climate change and wreck scientific decision-making.  There are also general democracy impacts. Michigan Neg.  Aff file 2   CNDI Neg GDI Neg

The CNDI has a similar case (Plan:: The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the areas of biotechnology and artificial intelligence by proposing the designation of the cognitive domain as an operational arena, establishment of a counter-political warfare directorate with an Article 2 mission to coordinate anti-disinformation efforts among NATO member states, and establishment of an alliance-wide disinformation Rapid Response Unit.) The case claims that without defeating Russian information warfare that they will undermine the 2024 election, build relations with Latin America that threaten the US and trigger a wider war in Europe by distributing misinformation about refugees.

The GDI version (The United States federal government should substantially increase coordinated cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on proactive and system-wide counter-disinformation cyberspace initiatives.) claims that misinformation will make all impacts more likely, that it will destroy democracies and that it will collapse NATO.  Supplement 


Emerging technologies. This is a SDI affirmative case that proposes increased U.S. security cooperation with NATO over emerging technology innovation. The plan proposes that the U.S. strengthen NATO’s defense innovation hubs and research and development in AI, biotech, and cybersecurity. Specifically, it calls for the U.S. to increase its support of and participation in NATO’s Innovation Fund and Defense Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA).

There are two advantages: RMA (Revolution in Military Affairs) and Alliance Fragmentation. The RMA advantage claims that the plan is necessary to maintain NATO’s military superiority over its adversaries. This is critical to prevent great power war, deter Russia, and de-escalate global hotspots.

The Alliance Fragmentation advantage claims that U.S. support for the NIF and DIANA is crucial to integrate the various allied defense innovation ecosystems. This is crucial to effectively counterbalance China because it unites the U.S.’s European and Asia-Pacific allies and bolsters their military capabilities. Neg

Ban germline genetic engineering. I have no idea why NATO countries would agree to this, but (Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the area of biotechnology by banning the use of germline genetic engineering in humans).

Germline engineering refers to making changes in the part of the cell that pass on changes to subsequent generations. The case claims that germline engineering is immoral; that it promotes inequality; that it risks eugenics and racism; that it destroys human dignity; that it promotes racism; and risks biowarfare and bioterrorism. Neg

International law. This Emory disadvantage argues that information warfare breaks international law.

Cooperative neuroscience “Cognitive Biotechnology.” This case claims that the US should cooperate with NATO on cooperative neuroscience, which basic involves brain-computer implants/interfaces (BCI). The case claims that the the US needs to compete against China in this domain in order to protect global democracy, that we need to get on the same page as NATO with this to protect NATO cohesion and that it will give NATO a big advantage in land warfare. Neg Neg update

[DebateUS! Cyber Advantage Defense]

***Kritik Aff Cases***

Feminist International Relations (See the kritik section below for a greater explanation of feminist IR).This case argues that NATO is based on the idea of the need to provided protection to the feminine. The case claims that not only will this lead to less violence in the world but that it will promote gender equality.
“Plan:” Thus, we advocate for vulnerability. Only a recognition and embodiment of vulnerability can reshape the manner in which we approach IR and foreign policy that does not replicate the hierarchical logic of the protection racket that dooms us to extinction. Vulnerability gives agency to the oppressed bodies – which allows for the destruction of hierarchal patriotism.

Warren/Anti-Blackness aff. This case argues that anti-blackness is embedded in NATO.
“Plan:” Thus, we endorse an unflinching paradigmatic analysis of social death and the anti-black cyber economy that constitutes the formulation of modernity. This must be the only ethical demand in an anti-black world capable of coming to terms with the racial violence of the status quo.

Baudrillard cyber security aff.  Michigan version. Michigan answers

Bronx Night Aff.  This case argues that attempting to embed security in a faulty cyber security environment creates a false sense of security and replicates all of the harms.

Digital Cyclops. This case argues that The resolution attempts to impose a will to technological transcendence – reading the myth of digital salvation in favor of AI, cyber, and biotech culminates in the transformation of life into data-made-flesh, imposing a violent psychic commitment onto subjectivities while rendering marginalized bodies as accidental road kill on the way to a technological future and that The will to technology and the exteriorization of consciousness onto technological saviorism are both the root cause and accelerator of masculine, racial, religious, political, psychic, and environmental violence Neg

PRISM Aff. This MI kritk aff kritiks modern, data driven surveillance technologies and advocates for “for venture communism , a platform where material wealth can be shared and allocated to build free networks and free societies.” Kleiner   Supplement 

Rememory. MI.  From the 1AC: This debate begins deep within the archives of this resolution. This debate begins in 1949, at the founding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This debate begins with the unseen underside of enlightened modernity, with the strands of gratuitous violence we trace across time, with the perpetual accumulation of fungible African life and lives, with the invisible relations of colonial sociopolitical dominance. This debate begins at the start of 73 fateful years in which, like imperial clockwork, the world ended every day. From its inception, the North Atlantic Treaty belonged to whiteness. Ask yourself which African national leaders were present at the founding of the militaristic organizations you invest in – the answer is none. The world was built from the ground up by the expropriated labor of the transatlantic slave trade, and as the bricks of imperial sovereignty were laid upon each other by black lives lived under an international regime of neo-slavery, a new world order was born. Thus we affirm a process of rememory––an anti-colonial analysis of time that disrupts the linearity and universality of Western thought and calls upon the silent yet enduring realities of colonization. Reject the techno-liberal dream of the resolution — we shift our gaze to the past, take refuge in forgotten narratives, venture into the affective terrain of the unknown and the unseen, in order to create decolonial futures.  MIDebate is a site of historiography – the topic is not a statement of objective linearity but rather a myriad of competing and collective histories, a subjective construction of embodied knowledge and experience – the 1AC shifts the pedagogical paradigm within this debate towards the practice of insurgent subaltern thought that disrupts Western chronopolitical narratives.

Warren terror K. From the  MI 1AC: 1AC NATO’s history in Africa is deeply intertwined with antiblackness – from NATO secret armies staging coups in Algeria in the 60s, to covert operations in Libya in the name of stability, to modern day AFRICOM military extraction projects for resources – Africa has been the medium of Western expansion and continuation. But, within the plane of territorial domination comes the emergence of a new era in which technological systems of control and biopolitical governance have become the currency for warfare. The cyber-securitized medium of surveillance, information gathering, and scientific metaphysics are all backed by the liberal “objectivity” of artificial intelligence and biotechnology. The racialized heuristic of emerging technologies is rooted in the slow masking and camouflage of anti-black violence away from explicit plantation politics into implicit technical codes. Thus, we endorse an unflinching paradigmatic analysis of social death and the anti-black cyber economy that constitutes the formulation of modernity. This must be the only ethical demand in an anti-black world capable of coming to terms with the racial violence of the status quo.

Kaplan 2022 (Andrew Santana Kaplan (2022): From the Katechōn of Anti-Black Original Sin to the Mystery of Black Messianic Lawlessness: Notes on a Form-of-Life-Toward-Social-Death, Political Theology, DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2022.2087554. Andrew Santana KaplanComparative Literature, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA)//GUCCISUSHI

Borders.This Dartmouth case argues that NATO should not use biotech in surveillance of its borders because borders and anti-immigrant rhetoric are racist. DDI1. DDI2. DDI 3

Technorientalism aff. MI Aff:The language and code of the Western project produce an Asianized future, where the Asian Techno-Orient supplants the aspirations and anxieties of modern info capitalism, justifying Western dominance. In this state, the Asian body accelerates past the present and becomes the mirror of Western futural fears.  Thus, we engage the Asiatic Diaspora in a methodological praxis of refusal. Through diasporic melancholia, insurgent memories and counterknowledge, we find space for productive refusal against the Western hegemonic gaze that empowers transnational Asian solidarity. Debate relies on a speculatory process to predict and predetermine Asian futures – only critical readings and alternative imaginings of Asian futurity can form ruptures in the smooth flow of oriental logics. The gamespace of debate is intertwined with late capitalism – assumptions of fair play and logistical mapping reinscribe the conditions that uphold the fantasy of perfecting space.

Imperialism aff. This case argues that security cooperation promotes imperialism and argues (“plan”:Thus, we affirm a pessimistic reading of the empire, the night side of IR theory – an optimistic analysis of worlds-to-be that views modern IR as a failed practice that refuses the violence of the pure dark war). 


Resource Competition

The first set of disadvantages deal with resource competition between the plan and other competing spending priorities.

DOD Trade-Off. The Department of Defense (DoD) trade-off DA argues that engaging in security cooperation with NATO would require the DoD to expend resources that would come from another, more important, priority(essay and updates).

The SDI version argues it trades-off with  assessment, monitoring and evaluation (AM&E) that is needed to protect democracy.

The DDI version claims that it trades-off with satellite monitoring needed to stop hypersonic attacks.

The Harvard version says it trades-off with aid to the Ukraine. This is similar to a Michigan 7 week version that argues the plan must go through the Defense Security and Cooperation Agency (DSCA) and that DSCA funding competes with funding for aid to the Ukraine (Update).

The NDCA Version  focuses on defense research and development (R&D). The argument is that the DOD increasing its funding and focus on emerging tech research, which is necessary to maintain tech leadership and compete with China militarily, but the plan would require money, time, and attention, which would necessitate diverting focus away from upcoming R&D activities.

This is similar to the Michigan Starter Pack version (Update 1; Update 2) that argues the resources will come from Asia, undermining deterrence against China vis-a-vis Taiwan.   CNDI  CNDI Supplement Mean Green  UTNIF. all make similar China trade-off arguments.

The above disadvantages largely address military resource trade-offs, but there are a couple of arguments related the trade-off of diplomatic resources. This GDI version argues that the US needs to stay focused on China. The DDI   disadvantage argues the diplomatic effort to get NATO partners to agree to the plan and imagine any fallout would trade-off with diplomatic efforts to restrain China.

As a stand-alone argument, all versions of the disadvantage have many weaknesses that are identified in this essay. If the disadvantage is simply a net-benefit to a counterplan that has the Department of State do/fund the plan (see below) or has the EU fund the plan and implement it through NATO cooperation then it is much stronger because if the counterplan solves the case even a weak disadvantage such as this is a decent net-benefit. [Note: Obviously the diplomatic trade-off disadvantages cannot be net-benefits to this counterplan, but the above military trade-off disadvantages can be].

Regardless, this resource competition/spending argument is one of the most popular camp arguments (and it’s in the NDCA novice packet if you are a novice), so you need to be well-prepared to debate it.

Politics Disadvantages

Until November 8th (the midterm elections) there are two versions of this disadvantage.

Politics/Political Capital. While it will probably be difficult for negative teams to win that increasing cooperation with NATO in one of these three areas will require Biden to spend political capital (aiding Europe/NATO is generally pretty popular right now and aid to the Ukraine is continually increasing), the disadvantage is always popular. Negative teams will argue that if Biden spends political capital to push the plan through Congress that he will not have it to spend on another agenda item such as  efforts to reduce big tech monopolization and the Iran deal.  Link File 

Many scenarios (Build Back Better, Competitiveness Act, Inflation Reduction Act (originally was BBB and included drug price reform)) that were written this summer already passed and teams will need to find new scenarios for the fall, such as big tech monopolization and the Iran deal.

Again, the links to this disadvantage are going to be very weak against most plans, but politics is a strong net-benefit to any counterplan that might pass the plan in a politically less controversial way.

Midterms. This disadvantage projects the consequences of how the plan will impact the midterm elections. There are two versions of this disadvantage.

Republicans good — The House. Since almost all evidence argues that Republicans will gain the majority in the House (some evidence says by a wide margin), negative teams will argue that the plan is popular and that Biden will get credit, preventing a Republican majority in the House because Biden’s good fortunes will benefit Democrats. 

“Democrats bad” impacts include reductions in military spending and increases in taxes and/or government spending, hurting the economy. The GDI version argues Republicans will support re-invading Afghanistan and that is good.  The Michigan Classic version includes energy security and China impacts. It also argues divided government is good for the economy, Republicans support “energy security” and that the GOP will be “tough on China.”

Democrats Good — The Senate (and maybe the House). The Senate races are much closer and it is possible the Democrats could still retain control of the Senate (the most recent evidence says it is likely). Given this, teams could argue the plan is unpopular, threatening Democratic control of the Senate and that control of the Senate by the Democrats is important to prevent climate change, protect tech leadership and to protect Democracy (Michigan 7 week scenarios). These are the key Senate races to watch/argue could be flipped by the plan

These midterm disadvantages are interesting, but they have a number of limitations.

General Answers

All of the the US is constantly increasing aid/assistance to NATO (cyber coop) and the Ukraine (new aid on 8-23-22). Any additional increase in aid as a result of the plan seems relatively trivial and unlikely to be noticed by the public.

Problems with “Republicans Good in the House”

If the Democrats retain control of the Senate (likely and even more likely if the negative argues the plan is popular and helps the Democrats), it’s unclear what impact is to the Democrats having control of the House. They couldn’t pass any legislation that is only supported by Republicans because Democrats still control the Senate and Biden could even veto the legislation if somehow it got passed in Congress.

Third, many of the impact scenarios don’t make any sense. Republicans can’t simply decided to reinvade Afghanistan; that’s up to the President (the Commander-n-Chief) and since Biden withdrew the US from Afghanistan because he doesn’t think we should be there, it doesn’t make any sense that he would agree to this.

The common “divided government” good for the economy argument also makes little sense because Democrats are likely to retain control of the Senate. And even then, the evidence that says Biden’s policies are bad (BBB/Inflation Reduction Act and the Competitiveness Act) already passed.

The “energy security” scenario doesn’t make much sense because Democrats in the Senate aren’t going to support it and Biden will veto it. The evidence in this file is just describing what the Republicans want to do

The “tough on China” argument also doesn’t make any sense because, again, there is no path to getting any of these GOP “tough on China” policies passed because the Dems will control the Senate and the Presidency.

Claims that the GOP is needed to increase defense spending are silly for the same reasons above, but also because defense spending continues to increase under Democratic control.

Problems with “Senate Democrats Good”

There are a couple of problems with this scenario.

First, the evidence that says supporting NATO is unpopular is pretty terrible and, as discussed above, very non-unique.

Second, as long as the Democrats retain control of the House, it doesn’t matter what passes in the Senate.

Second, the impact scenarios don’t make a lot of sense. Let’s look at the scenarios in the Michigan 7 week file.

Filibuster bad. This evidence claims the filibuster is bad, but there is no evidence that the Democrats will get rid of it. At a minimum, both Sienna and Manchin have sustained staunch opposition. This is the same problem with any “Republicans Good/Filibuster Good” arguments.

Climate. The Democrats just passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which contains $500 billion+ for renewable energy. What other important policy in this areas is going to get passed if the Democrats retain control of the Senate?

Countering China. The internal link evidence doesn’t say much of anything. What are the Democrats going to do? They already passed the Competitiveness Act. Both Republicans and Democrats have visited Taiwan.

Reactions of Other Actors

This set of disadvantages deals with the reaction of other actors (usually countries) to the plan.

NATO Unity. The NATO Unity disadvantage was one of the most popular camp disadvantage and argues that for various reasons the plan might undermine unity within NATO.  These reasons (links) could include: increase dependence on the United States; shifting focus away from deterring Russia; too much focus on technology; and implementation details of new policies.

This disadvantage makes a lot of sense as NATO currently has 30 members (with Finland and Sweden on their way to becoming members) and NATO members need to agree through consensus for action to take place. 30 countries inherently won’t all see things the same way, so it makes sense the plan could undermine this unity.

This Michigan version of the disadvantage argues the plan will trigger disagreements within NATO that will prevent it from having a necessary unified front against Russian aggression. Other versions (CNDI; GDI; MNDI are similar.

This SDI version argues that strong NATO unity is needed to prevent China from attacking Taiwan.

This Strategic Concept disadvantage makes a similar argument: Focusing in areas other than conventional deterrence undermines deterrence and risks splitting the alliance. This DDI version is similar. Georgetown version.

The impact to the disadvantage is focused around the idea that public perceptions of a lack of unity make it impossible to deter Russia and to weaken perceptions of power projection against China, the latter of which would be terrible right now given China’s threat to Taiwan.

This is a good disadvantage (it makes logical, conceptual sense and is supported by evidence) but there are a couple of weaknesses.

First, the uniqueness debate can become controlling. If the affirmative wins that Russia is a threat now then it makes sense to vote affirmative to try and solve (“try or die”).  Affirmative teams will often win this debate.

Second, the plan will claims to solve for the impact. So, then it becomes a question of what is stronger/more likely to work — the plan’s substantive action or the infighting it may cause within NATO.

Third, there are continued uniqueness questions about whether or not NATO will continue to stay unified against Russian aggression. There is certainly evidence on both sides of the uniqueness debate (the total of which makes the argument somewhat “brinkish”), but it’s heavily contested.  You should check out our NATO Daily for regular updates.

Russian isolationism. There has been a popular disadvantage in debate that says if Russia is pressured/isolated that it will lash out. I guess this argument is good in that it has proven true, but it is incredibly non-unique: Russia has lashed-out and attacked the Ukraine; the US continues to provide billions of dollars worth of weapons to the Ukraine; the US and NATO are continuing to reinforce its Eastern flank. Michigan has a small version of this disadvantage

The NAUDL files contain a version of this disadvantage that argues Russia will develop more AI if NATO develops more AI.  The MSDI version argues that if Russia is more isolated it will put more weapons in Kalingrad, risking war.  This Michigan file argues that Russia might respond to more pressure by boosting activities in Central Europe or blocking food exports from the Ukraine.  

China isolationism. Similar to the Russia disadvantage (but still unique), this disadvantage argues that putting more pressure on China (perhaps through the development of new weapons or a strengthened NATO projecting power in the Pacific) will undermine President Xi, causing China to lash out.

An argument can also be made that any cooperation with the US that results from the plan (sometimes Affirmative teams will claim this) make him more likely to lose credibility in China and lash out.

Turkish politics. The thesis of the DA is that Erdogan (the president of Turkey) is facing a lot of backlash now because of the economy. That normally would TKO the DA on uniqueness, but the trick is that the way he’s dealing that is ramping up anti-NATO rhetoric and actions to divert the attention of the Turkish public. The AFF would be a flip flop by having him accept American aid and cooperation, which would cause a) him not be able to campaign on this and b) cause his base to backlash. In order to regain support with his constituents, he will start a war with Greece which escalates.  Michigan version

Turkish appeasement. This Michigan disadvantage argues that if Turkey cooperates with NATO it will become more aggressive and start wars.

Nuclear Commitments/Credibility. The Michigan version of this disadvantage argues that technology cooperation will reduce the perception of the credibility of the US commitment to nuclear security guarantees to Europe, triggering nuclear weapons development in Europe.

Turkey aggression. This Michigan disadvantage argues that more security cooperation with Turkey will trigger Turkey’s aggression.

Consequences of the Plan’s Advantages

Sometimes policies have negative consequences that are not intended. These are some of them.

NATO Bad. While NATO exists and is expanding both in terms of military capability and the likely addition of two countries (Finland, Sweden) NATO bad arguments can be useful when combined with a non-NATO counterplan and are also useful when extending a kritik to argue that NATO is not needed to solve any essential need.  NAUDL put out a “NATO Imperialism” file that just generally says NATO supports imperialism. Michigan file I. File II

“NATO Bad” is obviously very non-unique. But it is quite unique if the affirmative claims to save NATO.  It is also a sort of linear net-benefit to any counterplan that operates outside of NATO (especially if that counterplan claims to undermine NATO) and it can, of course, be argued as a kritik with the negative suggesting an alternative to NATO.

Hegemony Bad. This is the age-old debate argument that US leadership promotes military aggression, causes conflict with China/Russia, promotes terrorism, encourages nuclear proliferation and will eventually overstretch and undermine the US.  DebateUS! Hegemony updates and consolidated core filesMichigan File

China Good. This CNDI disadvantage argues that if the US leads in AI it will destroy China’s economy and drive China into an alliance with Russia.

Russia war good. This disadvantage argues it is better to have a war with Russia now rather than later.

China war good. Same argument as Russia, different country.

AI Bad. AI technology development could have disastrous consequences, including fully-automated weapons that become sentient and take on a life of their own.

Biotechnology development bad. Similar to the AI arguments, teams will argue that advances in this area, especially in the area of synthetic biology, threaten humankind. 

Cybersecurity bad. “Cybersecurity” bad arguments are likely to focus on the development of offensive cyber capabilities that will be used to attack other countries. Those arguments are covered in the cyber security plan section.

Space bad. As discussed above, technology development in these areas could lead to expanded exploration and development of outer space. Teams can argue this is bad.

Information Warfare DA.   This Michigan disadvantage argues that information warfare destroys free speech, which is critical to democracy.

European Strategic Autonomy. This NDCA novice disadvantage argues the following —

This disadvantage (DA) covers the topic of European Union (EU) strategic autonomy. Strategic autonomy is defined as “the ability of a state to pursue its national interests and adopt its preferred foreign policy without depending heavily on other foreign states.”

In the context of the DA, strategic autonomy refers to the ability to have its own defense and military capacity without reliance on the United States or other non-European nations.

The thesis of the DA is that the EU is currently heading towards strategic autonomy due to programs like the Strategic Compass and Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) initiative. However, U.S. security cooperation increases European reliance on U.S. assistance, which results in continued EU free-riding and undermines the willingness of EU countries to pursue their own defense capacity.

There are several reasons why EU strategic autonomy is beneficial, but the one highlighted in the file is that it helps strengthen multilateralism, which is loosely defined as the cooperation of three or more nation states over international issues. The DA argues that multilateralism is good because it helps the world adapt to incoming threats that could cause human extinction.

Hardline Good

These disadvantages are useful against any cases that try to restrain NATO or restrain US action within NATO.

AI Arms Race. This disadvantage argues that implementing AI ethics standards and coopering with Europe will undermine AI weapons development that is needed for deterrence.  UTNIF  SDI

Defense Industrial Base good. This MSDI disadvantage argues that restraining LAWS will undermine the defense industrial base, which is key to hegemony.

Hegemony Good/Primacy good. This UNITF disadvantage claims that cooperating with NATO will undermine US unilateral power and US hegemony.

Innovation good DA. I can’t figure out what the link is, but this Northwestern DA argues that undermines NATO’s Smart Defense.

Other Disadvantages that Make Sense

These are a couple of disadvantages that I’m struggle to categorize but are good.

Oversight disadvantage. This disadvantage argues that more security cooperation undermines civilian oversight, increasing war risks and. undermining democracy. Updates

Other Disadvantages that Don’t Make Sense

Business Confidence. This MSDI disadvantage argues that disrupting the confidence of businesses undermines the economy. The links (government spending, OCOS) are very weak on this topic and I don’t think it will be run often if ever.

Pharma good DA. I’m not sure what the link is, but this MSDI disadvantage argues that restricting gene editing undermines the pharma industry. It may link to a case that restricts genetic research and development in warfare.

The only casesI think these disadvantages are really useful against is the ban germline engineering aff (MSDI), which probably isn’t topical.

**Prioritizing Prep***

There are a lot of disadvantages listed here, but you need to prioritize your prep.

Spending/Resource trade-off (it’s popular, it’s okay, it has big impacts). How will you answer? It’s not a great DA, so, most importantly, how will you answer this when the negative runs a counterplan to get it from elsewhere? 

Midterms. You only have to deal with this until November 8th, but historically this DA has been popular and while it is weak it could be a net-benefit to a counterplan. If it is used as a net-benefit and you can’t just minimize and outweigh it, how will you manage it?

Political capital.  Fall scenarios are unknown at the moment and it is weak, but how you will deal with it as a net-benefit to a counterplan?

EU defense autonomy.  This is a terrible DA, but it’s in the novice packet so you’d best prep answers if you are novice.

Impact turns. If you claim China war or Russia war and the team argues such wars are good, you simple have to debate and win the wars are bad. Ditto on answering hegemony bad or economic growth is bad. You need to be prepared to debate the impacts to these arguments.

NATO bad. Again, not really unique, but how will you manage it as a net-benefit to a counterplan your opponent runs.

Hopefully this will get you thinking about some key arguments.


Civil-Military Counterplan. This DDI counterplan has the US engage the civilian and political leaders of a the NATO countries to offer assistance rather than their military leaders (they will try to win a topicality argument that “security assistance” is military to military only) and that civilian control of advanced technologies is needed to ward-off disasters. It also claims to avoid DOD/NATO military trade-off, claiming that NATO military resources need to be focused on preventing an attack on Taiwan by China.

Michigan has a similar version of the counterplan that focuses on implementing the plan through public-private partnerships.

State Department Counterplan.   From the the Michigan Starter Packet:

This counterplan should be treated as a “PIC” out of DoD administration and funding of security cooperation. Activities very similar to “security cooperation” can be accomplished between the US and NATO under the moniker “security assistance.”

The two primary net-benefits, thus far, are:

1-DoD funding/resources tradeoff DA. The DoD tradeoff DA is very simple: the plan requires drawing significant resources from the DoD, the counterplan doesn’t 

2-Diplomatic Credibility internal net-benefit. The Diplomatic Credibility Good net-benefit is more complicated. It argues that the counterplan re-centers the State Department, instead of the military, as the leader of US foreign assistance, which promotes the ability of diplomats, as opposed to servicepeople, to achieve their desired outcomes. That’s good because diplomacy should lead the charge for solving transnational existential threats. Like most internal net-benefits, there are flaws: the counterplan’s single action is likely insufficient to boost credibility, the military and state department can both lead together and the State Department might not be the ideal department to lead challenges in, and out, of NATO.

There are a variety of other net-benefits that will come out in wave 2:

–DoD assistance causes Russian aggression, DoS assistance doesn’t

–DoD assistance precludes effective Congressional oversight, DoS assistance doesn’t

–DoD assistance condones human rights violations, DoS assistance doesn’t

 Although I have a start on some of those positions, I chose to exclude them in order to streamline this file as much as possible.

 There are two (related) concerns that I want to note. They should be in the back of your mind as you are prepping the file, and should be noted when refuting the argument.

1—I am uncertain that, by September, you will want to think of this as the “security assistance” counterplan. Although the negative competition evidence is pretty good (Kerr is by far the best), there is also very good evidence that describes security cooperation as a subset of security assistance – making the CP plan-plus, and/or link to the disadvantages. Also, “security assistance” is often referencing security sector assistance, which is more about building domestic resilience than establishing war-fighting abilities (depending on the aff, that might be a feature not a bug). There are certainly other ways to write the counterplan text. After seeing debates in the first week of camp, the second version of the file might look a lot different.

2—I am uncertain if it’s best to think of this CP as a PIC out of the DoD entirely, or a PIC out of DoD administration (still allowing for DoD involvement). This might seem like a semantic distinction, but it matters quite a bit for the way that net-benefits and solvency operate. For example, if the counterplan entirely excludes the DoD, it will likely be a bit less solvent on mostly military matters (like LAWS). If the counterplan includes the DoD, but does not have them fund or administer the cooperation, then the counterplan likely solves a bit better but has a more limited range of net-benefits. The current version of the file certainly allows the neg to say the military is significantly involved in the counterplan, just that the specific initiative would be administered, and funded, by the State Department. DoS can sell military articles, interact with foreign militaries, and even have service-members on staff, which is important to remember when debating the solvency of the counterplan.

When prepping the file, I would start by doing the following:

—Read it. Don’t highlight it the first time, see what’s there. If you don’t know what’s there, or what you need to refute, you won’t know what to highlight anyway.

—Read every plan, solvency advocate and “military key” card in each of the affirmatives produced

—Write a 1nc shell that’s specific to each of those affirmatives, and a 2nc block responding to each aff’s “military key” claims. Make the decision: internal net-benefit, or not?

—Then, start to highlight the file — specifically highlighting the parts of evidence that helps with each strategy.

There is an NDCA novice version of this counterplan here.

Other versions:
SDI SDI 2 SDI 3 (“simplified version”)

This was obviously the most popular counterplan this summer so you need to be prepared to debate it.

Exclude Turkey counterplan. This counterplan argues the US should cooperate with every country in NATO except Turkey because Turkey violates human rights.

Unilateralism. The US could simply develop these technologies itself without cooperating with NATO. Net-benefits include NATO bad, politics (with NATO specific links) and tech theft. This is a strong counterplan, but teams need to be able to debate the “standards setting” arguments discussed above.  NAUDL has a version of this counterplan with NATO Bad/Imperialism is the net-benefit. The Michigan camp version of the counterplan says the US should simply fund its own Department of Defense (DOD). Obviously, the US has the ability to tackle many problems, including cyber security and deterring Russia, unilaterally; many 1ACs will claim NATO Cohesion advantages for this reason (in order to be able to argue there is an advantage unilateral action won’t solve for).  See also: Michigan Fund the Military Counterplan. Other versions: CNDI; MSDI; UTNIF;

EU Cooperation. The EU is the European Union, a non-military organization of European countries. Teams could argue this cooperation will strengthen the development of the technologies without pushing them directly into the military sphere. Net-benefits include politics (with NATO specific links), DOD and/or NATO military resource trade-off and (related) strengthening NATO by improving its focus; EU credibility (from acting independently (version 1 below); harmonizing US/UE Policy (version 2 below); the Militarization K and the Securitization K.

The Michigan camp has three versions of the counterplan:

(1) EU act independently;
(2) EU act with the US but without NATO;
(3) EU act with NATO.

Michigan supplement 1; #2;

The NDCA novice version of the counterplan simply argues for EU cooperation in the area.

Other versions: GDI; CNDI.

Incentivize/Induce.  Rather than provide security assistance to NATO, this Michigan counterplan offers incentive(s) for European countries to fund the plan. Net-benefits include being less politically controversial, avoiding DOD trade-offs and promoting the development of Europes military/strategic autonomy. The inducements can be positive (“well give you a bit of $ if…./we’ll offer you a small concession on trade if…”) but they can also be negative (“we’ll impose this trade tarriff unless”…)

Democracy Quid Pro Quo (QPQ) Counterplan. The Michigan camp version has,  The United States federal government should condition its defense cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in [PLAN AREA] on allies’ compliance with incremental tailored standards for adopting democratic reforms. Michigan update. Michigan update 2 

UN Cooperation. Similar to the EU counterplan, the negative can argue for increasing cooperation with the UN. The net-benefits are the same. Teams could also argue that it will produce a more multilateral global order, reducing the negative effects of US hegemony. Michigan version

China Cooperation. This is a more radical counterplan, but inventive teams could argue the US should increase technology cooperation with China, arguing that China’s global leadership is good, that NATO is bad, and that such cooperation would pull China away from Russia. Politically, the cooperation would be unpopular (so the reverse of the normal politics disadvantage would be the net-benefit) and that NATO is bad.

Technodemocracies/T-12 cooperation. This Michigan counterplan implements the plan by cooperating with all of the technologically advanced democracies (T-12). It claims that NATO will eventually follow-on, but that by focusing on cooperation with the leading democracies that global democracy will be promoted.

OSCE cooperation. This Michigan counterplan claims that instead of cooperating with NATO the US should cooperate with the OSCE (Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe). It claims this will revive the OSCE, which is generally good, and result in better regulation of technology.  Georgetown version   Northwestern version

Consult NATO. A popular (and sometimes hated) counterplan in debate is to consult NATO. If we are going to cooperate with NATO, why not consult NATO first?.Winning the Consult NATO Counterplan Contesting the Legitimacy of the Consult NATO Counterplan

Other. The Michigan camp turned out other counterplans that involve cooperation through various entities other than NATO.

State partnerships counterplan. This Michigan counterplan claims: “The 50 states, through the National Guard State Partnership Program [SPP], should increase their security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the area of <AFF>.” It claims to strengthen the involvement of the states in international affairs, which will supposedly solve climate change, and promote soft power.

Turkey PIC. This counterplan argues for doing the plan with every NATO country except Turkey. It claims that Turkey is undemocratic and undermines NATO.  UTNIF version; Michigan update #1, Update #2; Update #3.

Advantage counterplans. Counterplans to solve advantages through mechanisms other than the plan are always popular, as it is easy for teams to read politics disadvantages with topic-specific links as net benefits.  Advantage counterplans in the Michigan file include reforestation (solves climate), hotlines (solves accidental war), measures to support the Ukraine (stops Russian aggression), more sanctions on Russia (stops Russian aggression), establishing a NATO “Net Assessment” office (solves NATO cohesion), measures to support the creation of a multinational observer force (solves NATO cohesion), strengthen nuclear fail safe measures (prevents miscalculation), ban Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) (solves food security), cooperate with China on technology (solves great power war), increase transparency and reporting for social media (solves information warfare), strengthen deterrence with Taiwan (solves attack on Taiwan), strengthen Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) enforcement (solves bioterror attacks), strengthen rare earth mineral production and refinement (solves China dependence on those energy sources).

Specific to the cyber cases, this Emory counterplan offers to negotiate mutual restraint with Russia in cyber space.

Uniqueness counterplans. There are many different potential uniqueness counterplans this season, but one potential one has the US withdraw from NATO. It is unlikely that this would solve any of the case advantages, but it makes all of the “NATO Bad” arguments unique, as it would likely collapse NATO.  Other versions: CNDI; Michigan; Michigan updatesGeorgetown.

Supreme court uniqueness counterplan. This version of the counterplan has the Supreme Court prohibit the plan (+US involvement in NATO).  It claims that Supreme Court action in this area will undermine the authority of the President to commit military power and that that is a good thing; specifically, it claims that it will undermine drone warfare.  This Michigan version has the Supreme Court prohibit the plan on the grounds that Turkey violates human rights and claims to strengthen global human rights credibility.

Finally, there is a counterplan theory update that focuses on some theory arguments related to the above counterplans.


There are many kritiks in debate and most of them can be used on any topic depending on the situation. In this article, I cover some of the key and popular topic-specific kritiks. The UTNIF version argues that NATO and international relations theory in general is imperialistic. 

Anti-Blackness/Afropessimism. Arguments related to race and racism are obviously very popular in policy debate. There are strong arguments that NATO itself and international relations theory is ant-black.  See NATO was founded to protect ‘civilized’ people. That means White, Why Is Mainstream International Relations Blind to Racism?, and Why Race Matters in International Relations. The Michigan version contains many topic specific links.

Capitalism. The most popular kritik in policy debate is probably the capitalism kritik, if only for the reason that it can also be used to challenge race-related arguments. The basic argument is that capitalism is the root of the war system and will eventually lead to the extinction of the human race, which is only reinforced by technology development (through the military). For a NATO link, see Global NATO: A 70-Year Alliance of Oppressors in Crisis and Achieving True Cybersecurity is Impossible. DebateUS! Cap K Files. Michigan File

Imperialism. There are different arguments related to imperialism. The CNDI file argues that promoting democracy and AI is imperialistic. Supplement.

Orientalism. Orientalism argues it is bad to impose Western norms and identities on other parts of the world. Michigan update 

Militarism. This kritik argues that adopting military solutions to problems always results in war and more violence.  CNDI. Emory CNDI Supplement 

NDCA version

The Liberal Militarism Kritik argues that the assumptions behind security cooperation with NATO are rooted in an ideology of warmaking as the primary purpose of the state, the economy, and alliances (like NATO). Es.   sentially, this file is an evidentiary-based anti-war critique tha  the media, academia, and policy) try to make us believe it. The impacts of a permanent war economy generated by liberal militarism are profound: when countries like the United States spend most of their money and energy on “national security”, they neglect pressing existential threats like climate change and pandemics, while subjecting marginalized peoples around the globe (and domestically) to imperialist violence. While these impacts seem self-explanatory, it is crucial to frame them not just as unfortunate byproducts of an otherwise “necessary” militarism but as primary features of a system that has subsumed all politics. In opposition to such a politics, the kritik advocates that instead we should dedicate ourselves both academically and materially to a principled anti-war movement that takes seriously the values of conflict de-escalation/mediation, prioritizing people over profits, and generating true, bottom-up democracy for a sustainable world.

Securitization. The Securitization K argues that when we make security issues out of problems then war becomes self-fulfilling.  The K, one of the most popular in debate, focuses on the rhetoric of the advocacy. There is a great cybersecurity link card in  Achieving True Cybersecurity is Impossible

Securitization K File

There is a NAUDL version of this kritik that is centered around threat construction  — worry about threats leads to the adoption of policies that cause other countries to actually become threats.

SDI GDI UTNIF DDI Georgetown UNT MSDI Northwestern

Feminist IR.  The Feminist International Relations kritik (“Fem IR”) argues that aspects of the affirmative advocacy operate in a way that oppresses women and that we instead need to challenge those ideas. The kritik draws on literature that seeks to expose the way both the academic discipline of international relations and the modern international system works against the interests of women, though there are many topic-specific applications. DebateUS! Essay and filesMichigan Supplement

Cybernetics. From the Michigan Starter Packet:  It seems appropriate to begin with Google’s definition of “cybernetics,” which is “the science of communications and automatic control systems in both machines and living things.” This critique is concerned with the ways in which modern and emerging technologies are altering the structural nature of “communications” (both the media we use to communicate, like cellphones, social media, etc, and the ways that we communicate with each other in terms of empathy, aggression, etc) and “automatic control systems” (the systems and infrastructures that the world relies on to communicate, both the physical components such as power cables or satellites and the virtual components such as algorithmic decisionmaking systems or metadata sets). Specifically, this is a criticism of the affirmative’s epistemology, or the way in which it comes to know the world, and the sources, data, and ideological influences that their thought and research draw upon. The core argument is that scholarship which calls for security cooperation with NATO states relies on outdated ideas about the effectiveness and utility of traditional mechanisms of international law, and that these outdated ideas offer useless (if not actively harmful) responses to the crises created by the ongoing cybernetic transformation of the world. Consider the core paradox of autonomous weapons regulation: if the weapons are effectively regulated, then they aren’t truly autonomous, but as soon as they autonomous, we can’t regulate them without potentially compromising their effectiveness. By and large, the only way for international security organizations like NATO to keep up with the growing amount of security threats created by emerging technology is for those organizations to automate their functions, including the process of decisionmaking itself, using other new digital technologies. Thus, according to the link, the affirmative (and not just its scholarship—the action of the plan itself!) justifies the subtle spread, normalization, and acceptance of digital technologies which make it easier to monitor the population and extract data from them. That process is unsustainable, violent, conducive to fascism, and results in extinction.

The alternative to the continued datafication of the world is to focus on cultivating embodied, corporeal relationships. This should be understood somewhat, but not completely, literally; while the alt authors would certainly advocate more in-person connections and relationships, “corporeal care” is also something of a metaphor for the innumerable, ineffable relationships which make up human sociality and which lose something of their essence when translated into data. How many 30-part Instagram stories from concerts that your friends went to have you watched all the way through and actually enjoyed, let alone gotten anything close to the experience of actually being there? Even the person taking the video doesn’t get the same experience from rewatching it as they did from actually producing that moment of human connection and entertainment, but it’s the next best thing to being able to actually reproduce it. The point is that these moments of connection, collective experience, and relationality are metaphorically corporeal in the sense that they don’t last forever, but they do last materially—the opposite of data—and paying attention to those moments and focusing on generating more of them is a better way of combatting the expanding cybernetic regime than outdated legal instruments.

Settler Colonialism. This kritik argues that domestic colonialism is the underlying cause of international colonnialism and that a kritik of it must start domestically.  Michigan

AI Arms Race K. This K claims that there will not be an AI arms race but that arguing there will be one causes an AI arms race.

Tech K. This SDI K claims that attempting to master technology fails and that developing it brings horrors.


A number of topicality arguments have been written over the summer.  NDCA Topicality Packet

Military-to-Military. The argument is that security cooperation is only military to military cooperation.

Cybers secruity. There is a claim that cyber security is only defensive. Teams argue to try to exclude offensive cyber operations and Article 5 cases.