Recent Events

On October 10th, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and DEF CON hosted a public event on the vulnerabilities in US voting infrastructure and recommendations for a path forward in securing our democracy. Panelists included Ambassador Douglas Lute, former US permanent representative to NATO; Jeff Moss, founder of DEF CON and senior fellow for the Cyber Statecraft Initiative; John Gilligan, chairman of the board for the Center for Internet Security; Sherri Ramsay, former director of the NSA/CSS Threat Operations Center; and Harri Hursti, founding partner of Nordic Innovation Labs and organizer of the DEF CON Voting Village. The panel was moderated by Jake Braun, a lecturer at the University of Chicago and opening remarks were given by Fred Kempe.
On November 7, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative launched its first-ever report on Aviation Cybersecurity—Finding Lift, Minimizing Drag, underwritten by Thales. The event featured a keynote by Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications at the US Department of Homeland Security. Opening remarks were provided by The Hon. Jane Holl Lute, CEO of SICPA North America, former deputy secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security and Atlantic Council Board Director, as well as Alan Pellegrini, CEO of Thales North America and Atlantic Council Board Director.
 
In an increasingly connected aviation ecosystem, the ever-expanding and complex cybersecurity issues that affect aviation stakeholders are immense. The launch convened a group of leading aviation industry and cybersecurity experts that discussed the report's key findings and examined the threats, vulnerabilities and potential solutions. Panelists included Pete Cooper, author of the report and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Cyber Statecraft Initiative; Christian Espinosa, white hat hacker and CEO of Alpine Security; Steve Luczynski, former deputy director of cyber plans and operations at the Office of the Secretary of Defense; David Silver, vice president of civil aviation at the Aerospace Industries Association and Elizabeth Wharton, senior assistant city attorney for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The culmination of a full year of analysis by the Atlantic Council’s Asia-Pacific Strategy Task Force, A Strategy for the Trans-Pacific Century argues for deeper engagement between the United States’ Atlantic and Pacific partners to uphold the liberal rules-based order in Asia and beyond. As the rise of China creates reverberations felt not only within the Pacific region, but through the Atlantic as well, cooperation between these partners is needed now more than ever. Across Asia, Europe, and America, many nations share a common interest in protecting a rules-based order that has guaranteed more than half a century of freedom, prosperity, and growth. In their review of the task force’s findings, Dr. Matt Kroenig and Dr. Miyeon Oh, the paper’s co-authors, find that this cooperation cannot afford to take the form of either staunch resistance to change or acceptance of a bare-bones order. Instead, these partners must seek to reinvigorate the order by adapting it to a new global power dynamic, as articulated through a five-pillar strategy: strengthening security cooperation between regional allies; practicing hard-headed engagement with China; adapting the regional economic architecture for an open order; partnering to address the emerging issue areas of the 2020s; and promoting good governance, the rule of law, democracy, and universally recognized human rights.

To mark the paper’s launch, the Atlantic Council hosted a panel with co-authors Dr. Kroenig and Dr. Oh, who were joined by Ambassador Paula Dobriansky and Ambassador Ashok Mirpuri to discuss their thoughts on the future of the strategic order, grounding their comments in their individual regional perspectives from America and from Asia. In their opening remarks, all four panelists concurred on the overriding importance of US-China relations in the coming decades. Ambassador Mirpuri emphasized how China has gained power through its economic ascendancy, becoming the dominant trading partner of all Southeast Asian countries, while Ambassador Dobriansky agreed with Dr. Kroenig and Dr. Oh in asserting the need to strike a balance between cooperation and confrontation when dealing with China. The panelists also affirmed the need for strong partnerships in this new era, with Dr. Oh stressing the role of regional buy-in within Asia even as Ambassador Mirpuri highlighted the role of the US as a resident power of the Pacific, and the potential for tighter ties with Europe. As summed up by Ambassador Dobriansky, thinking around connectedness and alliances—whether informal or formal—must be central to forthcoming attempts to strengthen the foundation of the international rules-based order.

The panelists continued to build on these messages in the audience Q&A session, during which they covered a wide range of issues that spanned media coverage of the Asia-Pacific, the KORUS FTA, and the South China Sea. Two parallel themes emerged in this discussion, with one set of questions focusing on security and military strategy, and another set revolving around the economy and strategic trade. On security, Dr. Oh restated the need for the US and Trump to provide strong reassurances in the face of current challenges, with the hope that his coming trip to the region would encourage him to do so. On trade, the panelists echoed the paper on one of its main points, with Dr. Kroenig stating that they did not want to see the region divided into two Cold War blocs, but hoped to see Asia go beyond a zero-sum game. Ambassador Mirpuri likewise noted Singapore’s desire to see a balance in trade between the US and China, even as he underscored the role of US investment—not merely in terms of formal structures, but also in terms of US business presence. These questions were not strictly independent of each other: Ambassador Mirpuri noted that when discussing trade agreements, the Trump administration has focused on matters of economic benefit (or lack thereof), whereas their Asian counterparts have seen them as strategic agreements intended to anchor the US in the region. Both he and Ambassador Dobriansky agreed that a significant question facing policymakers was how to bring these economic and strategic imperatives together, stressing the paper’s premise that any future international order in the Asia-Pacific must be grounded in the preferences of countries in the region.

A Strategy for the Trans-Pacific Century is the twelfth volume in the Atlantic Council Strategy Papers series. The series is designed to enrich the public debate and build consensus on the great strategic challenges of our time, as well as to help shape strategic thinking in US and allied governments, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the global media. Check out all the volumes here.
Written by Dr. Gal Luft, Silk Road 2.0: US Strategy toward China's Belt and Road Initiative explores how the United States should engage with China's tremendous infrastructure-building project, and recommends the United States pursue a strategy of constructive participation. This strategy is built on five pillars: acknowledge, engage, adjust; articulate red lines; carve a role for the United States; integrate the BRI into the framework of overall US-China Relations; and present America's own vision for infrastructure development.

The discussion focused on two main themes: the geopolitical and strategic reasons why the United States should engage in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and how the United States can do so while maintaining and protecting its interests. Overall, the panelists felt the BRI provides avenues for a constructive and cooperative relationship with China, the United States should want a role in development of underdeveloped regions which also provide US companies the opportunity to compete, and, lastly, China’s accrued influence in the countries where their projects are a success will test other hegemonic powers including Russia and India. One particular area to watch is China’s large investments in long-time ally Pakistan’s development. Ambassador Gray, Dr. Oh, and Dr. Luft all described how engagement with the BRI is in the United States’ interest as it helps create the standards for infrastructure development. The BRI provides private sector businesses with transparency to the contract competition process, providing fair access to capital for proposed BRI projects. The US government should help ensure fair access and transparency to business who wish to enter BRI projects. The overall conclusion is this: the BRI is moving forward with or without the US – the strategy that is proposed in this Atlantic Council Strategy Paper provides a roadmap to supporting China’s interest and investments in international development while maintaining US interests and security by selectively choosing when to endorse and when to rebuff aspects of the BRI.
On September 21, 2017, the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a panel discussion on Nonresident Senior Fellow, Andrea Matwyshyn’s current research project: The Internet of Bodies and the game-changing security, legal, and ethical implications of Internet-connected medical implants. The Hon. Franklin D. Kramer provided opening remarks for the event.

David Forscey, a Policy Analyst for the Homeland Security and Public Safety Division of the

National Governors Association moderated a panel comprised of Dr. Andrea Matwyshyn, Nonresident Senior Fellow for the Cyber Statecraft Initiative and Professor of Law at Northeastern University; Terrell McSweeny, Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission; Janine Medina, a Biohacker and the Project Manager of the Biohacking Village at DEFCON; and Gail Slater, General Counsel of the Internet Association.
 

For years, cybersecurity has focused on physical objects that comprise the Internet of Things, but with technological advances in healthcare, this now includes medical implants. What began with external, smart objects like FitBits, has steadily grown to internet-connected pacemakers, cochlear and microchip implants, and more. With the implementation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 2016, we now face a new era of imperative and legal security research of consumer devices that are attached to both the Internet and the human body. This “Internet of Bodies” will inevitably expose us to unprecedented cybersecurity vulnerabilities, introduce conflict across several legal regimes, and raise fundamental ethical questions about the future of what it means to be human in an age of technology-mediated bodies and artificial intelligence.
On Wednesday, September 13, the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and Brent Scowcroft Center’s Asia Security Initiative hosted expert panelists for a discussion on Dr. Ichord’s new report on the power diversification strategy in Indonesia given current political and economic obstacles confronting the country and region. The discussion was moderated by Benjamin Soloway, assistant editor at Foreign Policy.  Topics of the discussion included market prospects for geothermal and renewable energy, nuclear energy, liquefied natural gas, oil, and coal production in Indonesia, the types of investment changes necessary to support infrastructure demands and carbon dioxide emissions goals, and the power sector challenges associated with transitioning from a decentralized to a more centralized form of government.
In this follow-up to the Atlantic Council’s 2016 report on reforming the National Security Council, a team of respected and experienced authors led by former Ambassadors Thomas Pickering, Chester Crocker, and David Miller examined the inner workings of the US Department of State in order to find ways to improve the department’s performance quickly and for little if any cost. The report spells out five key areas where the State Department needs improvement: structure and process, personnel, budget, congressional relations, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

On September 6, the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative (FSR) hosted a launch event for the State Department Reform Report. The event featured a keynote address from Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and a panel with the report’s authors moderated by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. Chairman Royce stressed the importance of the State Department as the country’s “most important foreign policy institution,” and expressed his admiration for the department’s Foreign Service Officers (FSOs). The panel of authors then elaborated on several of their proposals, including the need for more dedicated training for FSOs, better mutual understanding between the State Department and Congress, and improvements to the independence and effectiveness of USAID.
 
On August 2, 2017, the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a panel discussion on the week-long round of cybersecurity conferences known as “Hacker Summer Camp” – DEF CON, Black Hat, and BSides Las Vegas. Ariel Robinson, Analyst and Reporter for ITSP Magazine and Host of The Tech Effect podcast, moderated a conversation with Nick Leiserson, Legislative Director for the Office of U.S. Representative Jim Langevin; Cris Thomas (also known as Space Rogue), Global Strategy Lead for IBM X-Force Red; Jessica Wilkerson, Professional Staff Member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce; and Beau Woods, Deputy Director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security on the three cybersecurity conferences that welcomed top hackers, academics, journalists, professionals, and government representatives. 
On Monday July 17th, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft initiative, part of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, held a moderated discussion where panelists Laura Galante, senior fellow with the Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and former director of Global Intelligence at FireEye; Alexander Klimburg, senior fellow with the Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and program director at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies; Jane Holl Lute, Atlantic Council board director and CEO of SICPA; and  moderator Tal Kopan, political reporter at CNN, discussed the chilling consequences of cyberspace as a new field of conflict.
We are living in a world awash in data. Accelerated interconnectivity, driven by the proliferation of internet-connected devices, has led to an explosion of data—big data. A race is now underway to develop new technologies and implement innovative methods that can handle the volume, variety, velocity, and veracity of big data and apply it smartly to provide decisive advantage and help solve major challenges facing companies and governments.


    

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