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.”
James H. Stock is Vice Provost for Climate and Sustainability, Harvard University; the Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy, Faculty of Arts and Sciences; and a member of the faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School. His current research includes energy and environmental economics with a focus on fuels and on U.S. climate change policy. He is co-author, with Mark Watson, of a leading undergraduate econometrics textbook. In 2013-2014 he served as Member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, where his portfolio included macroeconomics and energy and environmental policy. He was Chair of the Harvard Economics Department from 2007-2009. He holds a M.S. in statistics and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.