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.”
Mr. Ylli Bajraktari is the CEO of the Special Competitive Studies Project. Prior to launching SCSP, Ylli served as the Executive Director of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. Prior to joining NSCAI, he served as Chief of Staff to the National Security Advisor LTG H.R. McMaster held a variety of leadership roles for former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, and served as Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey. Originally joining the Department of Defense in 2010, he served in the Office of the Undersecretary for Policy as a country director for Afghanistan, and later India. Mr. Bajraktari is the recipient of the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal – the highest award given to career DoD civilian employees.
Dr. Seth Center serves as a Senior Advisor for the Special Competitive Studies Project. Prior to SCSP, Seth served as the Senior Advisor for the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. He has also served at the National Security Council and the Department of State.
Ylber Bajraktari serves the Special Competitive Studies Project as a Senior Advisor, with focus on defense and intelligence matters, as well as special projects. Previously, he served as a Geopolitical Strategist with the Investment Strategy Group at Goldman Sachs. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Ylber spent 13 years with the US Department of Defense and the White House. During that time, he served as a Senior Fellow in the Office of Net Assessment, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Defense Policy and Strategy, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy to the Secretary of Defense, and several different roles dealing with US policy towards the Middle East. Ylber is the recipient of the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal – the highest award given to career DoD civilian employees. He earned a BA in International Relations from American University, a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University, and an MS in National Security Strategy from the National War College.
Dr. PJ Maykish serves the Special Competitive Studies Project as a Senior Advisor. Prior to the SCSP, PJ was the Director for Technology Competition at the National Security Council. He directed classified research for the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence from 2019-2021. In the Strategy Office for the Secretary of Defense (OSD-P/SFD), PJ developed “Third Offset” technology solutions for DoD deterrence credibility issues from 2015-2017. He was promoted early to Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel ranks with 24 years of leadership experience in military operations including Commander of U.S. Central Command’s Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) from 2017-2019.
Rama G. Elluru serves the Special Competitive Studies Project as Senior Director for Society and Intellectual Property, focusing on emerging technology and AI governance. Prior to SCSP, Rama was a Director of Research and Analysis at the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) focused on Responsible AI and Intellectual Property. She was detailed to NSCAI from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, where she served as an Administrative Patent Judge. She has been practicing Intellectual Property law for more than 20 years. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science/Philosophy from Trinity University, J.D. from the Washington and Lee School of Law, and M.Sc. in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology from Georgetown University.
Liza Tobin is the Senior Director of Research and Analysis for Economy. Prior to joining SCSP, Liza served on the National Security Council staff as China Director, where she led the development of multiple US strategies and policies related to China, including on trade and economics, climate and the environment, military issues, and China’s influence beyond the Indo-Pacific. Prior to serving at the NSC, Liza worked for more than a decade in various capacities as a China specialist for the U.S. Government, including as a senior advisor at the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and as an economic analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as in various roles in the private sector and academia. She holds an M.A. in international relations with concentrations in China studies and international economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, a graduate certificate at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, and a B.A. in China studies and biblical studies from Gordon College.