The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Mr. Plankey served on the National Security Council as the Director for Maritime and Pacific Cybersecurity Policy, where he designed national security policy to address threats from cyberspace. He has also served as the Global Cyber Intelligence Advisor for BP, and as the Deputy Chief Information Officer for U.S. Navy Intelligence.
Sean served 13 years as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, including a tour as the Offensive Weapons & Tactics Chief at US Cyber Command. During this time, he completed a deployment to Afghanistan, where he was the first U.S. Coast Guard Officer deployed to Afghanistan to conduct offensive cyber operations. He also held the role of Operations Officer and Law Enforcement Boarding Team Leader for two Coast Guard Cutters, one deployed on the Great Lakes and the other in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska.
Sean Plankey is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He holds multiple professional cybersecurity and information technology certifications.