The world has witnessed a new era of cooperation on climate change between the United States and China. This cooperation between the world’s two largest economies and carbon emitters played a fundamental role in the international negotiations leading up to the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015. This includes, in particular, the joint announcement of their respective post-2020 climate actions in November 2014 and the crafting of common visions on key issues related to the Paris Outcome in September 2015. The world has high expectations that the United States and China will enhance their future collaboration on climate change. These expectations will be the cornerstone of translating the Paris vision into action. Furthermore, the Joint Presidential Statement released in March 2016 also stressed that “joint efforts by the United States and China on climate change will serve as an enduring legacy of the partnership between our two countries”.
Forty years ago, an interdisciplinary group of Harvard scholars – professors, researchers and practitioners – came together to tackle the greatest threat of the Cold War: the fear of a nuclear exchange between the Soviet Union and the United States. Today, we seek to recreate that interdisciplinary approach to tackle a new threat: the risk of conflict in cyberspace.
The problems that confront today’s leaders are substantial and diverse: how to protect a nation’s most critical infrastructure from cyber attack; how to organize, train, and equip a military force to prevail in the event of future conflict in cyberspace; how to deter nation-state and terrorist adversaries from conducting attacks in cyberspace; how to control escalation in the event of a conflict in cyberspace; and how to leverage legal and policy instruments to reduce the national attack surface without stifling innovation. These are just a sample of the motivating questions that drive our work.
The aim of the Belfer Center's Project on Conflict in Cyberspace is to become the premier home for rigorous and policy-relevant study of these and related questions. We will pursue this effort through three lines of effort:
- A fellows program comprised of traditional academics (pre-doctoral and post-doctoral students, as well as visiting researchers and faculty), as well as rotating representatives from government agencies and private-sector companies.
- A research agenda of policy-relevant scholarship that offers solutions to pressing national security challenges posed by developments in cybersecurity.
- A teaching curriculum to train tomorrow’s leaders with skills to make informed decisions about technology and cybersecurity throughout their careers in public policy.
To be successful, it will be imperative for our effort to convene experts and academics from a diverse set of backgrounds: no one discipline or skill set is sufficient to address the complexity and diversity of the challenges we face in cyberspace. To that end, we welcome the participation of technologists, journalists, programmers, members of the armed forces, psychologists, political scientists, business leaders, and more.