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.”
Lauren Zabierek is the Executive Director of the Cyber Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. She comes to this role as a 2019 graduate of the Kennedy School's mid-career MPA program. Lauren served as an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force at the beginning of her career and then as a civilian intelligence analyst with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. She then joined the cybersecurity threat intelligence startup Recorded Future, and was instrumental in building its Public Sector business practice.
Mr. Pavel Sharikov is a senior researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies (ISKRAN) and an associate professor at Moscow State University's School of World Politics. He was recently a visiting scholar at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy.
Moderated by Paul Kolbe:
Mr. Paul Kolbe is the Director of the Intelligence Project at the Belfer Center. Paul served for 25 years in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations in a variety of foreign and domestic roles, including as Chief of Station, Chief/Central Eurasia Division, and Balkans Group Chief. His overseas assignments included operational and leadership roles in the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, and Central Europe. He was a member of the Senior Intelligence Service and is a recipient of the Intelligence Medal of Merit and the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal.