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.”
Aoibheann Thinnes is a Master in Public Policy 2021 candidate at Harvard Kennedy School, with a concentration in International and Global Affairs. At HKS, Aoibheann is co-chair of the Women in Defense, Diplomacy, and Development (W3D) student group and student liaison for the Belfer Center’s Homeland Security and Security and Global Health Projects. Aoibheann is a 2020 Rosenthal Fellow in International Relations.
Prior to HKS, Aoibheann spent six years as a federal management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton where she delivered strategic and analytical support to federal agencies in Washington, D.C. to help enhance their mission execution. Aoibheann primarily supported clients in the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, focusing on business transformation through a combination of strategic planning, change management, strategic communications, business process re-engineering, and data analytics. Aoibheann graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in political science and management consulting.