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.”
Eric Traupe is a former public sector executive with 30+ years of combined experience in the
CIA and the US Marine Corps.
After leaving the public sector, Eric founded Azimuth Global LLC, a consulting firm that
provides strategic advisory services to Fortune 500 companies in the technology, national
security, and strategic risk sectors. He serves as an operating partner with Lightspeed Venture
Partners. He sits on the Board of Advisors for Intel Corporation and serves as an advisor to
Anduril Industries Inc. and other emerging technology companies. Eric is also a Senior Advisor
at WestExec, on the Board of Advisors for the Center for a New American Security, a Senior
Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, and a panel member for the Special
Competitive Studies Project focused on geopolitical rivalries associated with China and Russia.
Eric is an active speaker with Leading Authorities Inc. on topics related to geopolitics,
leadership, and risk management. He was previously the President of Capella Federal Inc., a
subsidiary of Capella Space Corp. Eric is also an Ambassador for the Third Option Foundation
and the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation.
During Eric’s government career he focused on responding to trends impacting the global
landscape, from his early years in CIA’s paramilitary ranks up through the senior enterprise
level. This included directing traditional intelligence activities focused on—Iran’s nuclear and
regional ambitions, CIA’s foreign partnerships across the Middle East and North Africa, and
global competition with China and Russia—and pursuing innovative cyber, technology, and data
exploitation solutions to address complex national security issues.
Eric’s last position in government was as Assistant Director of CIA for the Near East where he
led thousands of officers from different career disciplines and US agencies, developed and
executed multi-billion dollar budgets, and tackled acute intelligence and foreign policy
challenges. As a member of CIA’s senior leadership team, he served on the Expanded Corporate
Board and cultivated enduring partnerships across the US interagency and with foreign partners
to ensure US national objectives were achieved. Throughout his career he was a trusted advisor
to CIA Directors, Presidents, Cabinet and military officials, and members of Congress. He also
participated in a range of White House strategy, policy, and resource decisions.
Eric held various leadership roles in CIA’s Near East, Counterterrorism, East Asia, and Special
Activities Centers where he integrated operational, analytic, tech/cyber, digital innovation, and
support components to address US national security interests at home and abroad. As a senior
Operations Officer, he served overseas as a Chief of Station in two Middle Eastern countries and
other senior positions in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and three conflict zones. Eric is a trusted
expert across the US interagency in Middle East-related intelligence, defense, and geopolitical
challenges. During his nearly 10 years in the USMC, Eric held command and staff assignments
and completed deployments to the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, Japan, and Europe.
At CIA, Eric received several honors including—the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award,
Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, CIA’s Director Award, Intelligence Medal of Merit,
ODNI’s National Intelligence Medal of Achievement, Clandestine Service Career Award, and
Directorate of Operations Excellence in Leadership Award. Eric holds an MBA in International
Business from American University and a BA in Communications from the University of
Michigan. While at Michigan, he played Division I football as an inside linebacker participating
in two Rose Bowls and a Gator Bowl.