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.”
Where is the most interesting—and challenging—place to sit these days in the land of U.S. nuclear security? It is at the nexus of policy and money. Policy demands abound, money is scarce and growing scarcer. The aging strategic deterrent must be managed; we are trying to understand foreign nuclear weapons and nuclear devices and how state or non-state actors might use them; counterterrorism and counter-proliferation activities are growing. Together with the physical infrastructure and the science base that underpins everything, these activities demand enormous resources. And yet we are living in a moment—and maybe a lot longer than a moment—where we can plan all we want, only to find that we will not have the resources to make the plans reality, often despite bi-partisan political support for the activities themselves. This seminar will discuss how decision-makers are trying to cope with nuclear security issues in an age of budget uncertainty.
Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.