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.”
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Eric Rosenbach is Co-Director of the Belfer Center and a Lecturer in Public Policy. Rosenbach teaches graduate courses in policy development, strategy execution, and national security. He leads the Center's Defense Project and national security fellows program. He also teaches two online courses for HarvardX on managing cyber risk and public sector strategy execution.
As the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense from 2015-2017, Rosenbach was one of the senior-most leaders in the Department of Defense. The Secretary charged Rosenbach with managing some of the Department’s most sensitive decisions and ensuring the implementation of transformative changes in the Department’s technology, budget, and talent management. He served as the Secretary’s closest strategic advisor on key policy initiatives, such as the war to defeat ISIS, the “rebalance” to Asia, and the effort to check Russian aggression. Rosenbach also led the Department’s efforts to improve innovation by forging and managing key initiatives such as the Defense Digital Service, the Silicon Valley-based Defense Innovation Unit, and the Defense Innovation Board.
Before serving as Chief of Staff, Rosenbach was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Security and Homeland Defense. His diverse portfolio as Assistant Secretary included cyber, countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, space operations, antiterrorism, continuity of government, and defense support to civil authorities. Earlier, Rosenbach served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber Policy and led the Department’s efforts to counter cyberattacks by Iran and North Korea on US critical infrastructure and deter Chinese theft of American firms’ intellectual property.
Rosenbach also served as national security advisor for then-Senator Chuck Hagel and as a professional staff member on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, where he led oversight of Intelligence Community counterterrorism programs.
Rosenbach has significant experience in the private sector, where he led the cybersecurity practice of a global management consulting firm, advising the executives of Fortune 500 companies on strategic risk mitigation strategies. Earlier in his career, he worked as the Chief Security Officer for the then-largest European internet service provider.
A former Army intelligence officer and Commander of a telecommunications intelligence unit, Rosenbach led a team that worked closely with the NSA to provide strategic intelligence in direct support of commanders in Bosnia and Kosovo.
Rosenbach has authored several books, including Confronting Cyber Risk: An Embedded Endurance Strategy. The LA Times called his book Find, Fix, Finish, co-authored with Aki Peritz, “an important volume in the secret history of a nasty war.”
As a Fulbright fellow, he conducted research on privatization programs in Eastern Europe. He holds a Juris Doctor from Georgetown, Masters of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and Bachelor of Arts from Davidson College.Last Updated: Sep 8, 2022, 1:22pm