In the modern era, there is great convergence in the technologies used by friendly nations and by hostile ones. Signals intelligence agencies find themselves penetrating the technologies that they also at times must protect. To ease this tension, the United States and its partners have relied on an approach sometimes called Nobody But Us, or NOBUS: target communications mechanisms using unique methods accessible only to the United States. This paper examines how the NOBUS approach works, its limits, and the challenging matter of what comes next.
Meghan L. O’Sullivan is the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and Director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. Her expertise includes the geopolitics of energy, decision making in foreign policy, nation-building, counterinsurgency, and the Middle East. She is working on a book about the foreign policy implications of the new energy abundance, which will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2017. From July 2013-December 2013, she served as the vice chair of the All Party Talks in Northern Ireland, which sought to resolve on-going obstacles to peace. Between 2004 and 2007, she was special assistant to President George W. Bush and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan during the last two years of her tenure. There, she helped run two strategic policy reviews: one on Afghanistan in the summer of 2006 and one on Iraq in late 2006 and early 2007, which led to the “surge” strategy. She spent two years in Iraq, most recently in the fall of 2008 to help conclude the security agreement and strategic framework agreement between the United States and Iraq.
Prior to this, Dr. O'Sullivan was senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia in the NSC; political advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority administrator and deputy director for governance in Baghdad; chief advisor to the presidential envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process; and a fellow at the Brookings Institution. She has published several books and articles on American foreign policy, including Shrewd Sanctions: Statecraft and State Sponsors of Terrorism (2003) and edited volume (with Richard Haass) Honey and Vinegar: Incentives, Sanctions, and Foreign Policy (2000).
Dr. O’Sullivan is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, an occasional columnist for Bloomberg View, and an advisor to the Hess Corporation. She is a trustee of both the German Marshall Fund and the Friends of Inter Mediate, a UK-based non-profit focused on the most complex and dangerous world conflicts. She is on the Executive Committee of The Trilateral Commission, a member of the board of The Mission Continues, a non-profit organization to help veterans, and a member of the International Advisory Group for the British law firm, Linklaters. She is also a member of the Aspen Strategy Group and on the advisory committee for the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. She has been awarded the Defense Department's highest honor for civilians and, three times, the State Department's Superior Honor Award. She has a B.A. from Georgetown University and a masters and doctorate from Oxford University.