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.”
This John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum event is a conversation with three women who hold or have held top defense and security policy roles in the U.S. government over the past decade. Belfer Center Director Graham Allison is moderating the Forum.
Michele Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, is a former Belfer Center Research Fellow and an alumna of Harvard College. She is the highest-ranking woman in Pentagon history. Prior to her current position, Michele served as the president of the Center for a New American Security, as senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and as research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. In the Clinton Administration, she was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy.
Paula Dobriansky, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center, was Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs in the George W. Bush Administration for eight years, the longest tenure of anyone in that role in modern State Department history. From 1997-2001, she served as senior vice president and director of the Washington office of the Council on Foreign Relations. She also was the Council's first George F. Kennan senior fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies.
Meghan O'Sullivan, the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs, was Special Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan from 2004 to 2007. Before that, she was Senior Director for Strategic Planning and Southwest Asia for the National Security Council. Her assignments in Iraq have included political adviser to the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority and Deputy Director for Governance in 2003 and 2004.
The Forum is open to the public and no tickets are necessary. The John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum is located on the first floor of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, 79 John F. Kennedy Street. The event also will be webcast live on the Institute of Politics Forum page.