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.”
President Obama recently emphasized that "securing cyberspace" is one of the United States’ vital national interests. The United States is not unique in its concern about cybersecurity. Around the globe, public and the private sector actors struggle to find the technology and policy solutions that will improve the security, reliability and robustness of the internet. Threats abound: cybercrime, cyberespionage, cyberwar and cyberterrorism all represent genuine risks to nations, firms and individuals around the world. Despite the magnitude and complexity of the issue, the field of cybersecurity policy is still relatively new and nascent. The overall goal of this course is to provide the initial spark for a new generation of cybersecurity policymakers. With that goal in mind, the course has four primary objectives. First, the instructors will develop students' understanding of the technical fundamentals of cyberspace. Second, the course will explore the nature of current and future cybersecurity threats. Third, the instructors will push students to develop possible cybersecurity solutions in both the private and public sectors. Finally, the course will build professional skills. Students will gain expertise in developing cybersecurity policy, craft concise policy recommendation memos, provide briefings and participate in at least one crisis simulation exercise. No computer science background or expertise is necessary.