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.”
Christopher Lawrence is a fellow with the Belfer Center's International Security Program and Project on Managing the Atom. He earned his Ph.D. in nuclear science and engineering at the University of Michigan, where he developed novel neutron spectroscopy techniques to characterize nuclear warheads for treaty verification. After leaving Michigan, Christopher studied the history of North Korea's nuclear program as a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation. He then became a fellow in Harvard's Program on Science, Technology, and Society, where he studied the role of commercial satellite imagery in the framing of public narratives about weapons of mass destruction. A major focus of his work at the Belfer Center will be U.S. engagement with North Korea.