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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Ernest J. Moniz was a Senior Fellow with the Project on Managing the Atom. He served as the thirteenth United States Secretary of Energy from 2013 to January 2017. As Secretary, he advanced energy technology innovation, nuclear security and strategic stability, cutting-edge capabilities for the American scientific research community, and environmental stewardship. He strengthened the Department of Energy (DOE) strategic partnership with its seventeen national laboratories and with the Department of Defense and the broader national security establishment. Specific accomplishments included producing analytically-based energy policy proposals that attracted bipartisan support and statutory implementation, leading an international initiative that placed energy science and technology innovation at the center of the global response to climate change, and negotiating alongside the Secretary of State the historic Iran nuclear agreement. He reorganized a number of DOE program elements, elevated sound project and risk management, and strengthened enterprise-wide management to improve mission outcomes.
Dr. Moniz previously served in government as DOE Under Secretary from 1997 until January 2001 with science, energy and nuclear security responsibilities and from 1995 to 1997 as Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy with responsibility for the physical, life and social sciences. He was a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and of the Defense Threat Reduction Advisory Committee from 2009 to 2013. He also served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future that provided advice to the President and the Secretary of Energy on nuclear waste management.
Dr. Moniz served on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty from 1973 until becoming Secretary of Energy in 2013. He held the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems Chair, was the Founding Director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), and was Director of the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. MITEI grew to involve a substantial number of faculty across the entire Institute, launched new educational programs for energy, and established novel models for industry-faculty engagement that simultaneously provided individualized company research portfolios with a commons that lifted the entire energy enterprise.
Prior to government service, Moniz was Head of the Department of Physics during 1991-1995 and 1997 and Director of the Bates Linear Accelerator Center from 1983-1991. His physics research centered on developing the theoretical framework for understanding intermediate energy electron and meson interactions with atomic nuclei. Since 2001, his primary research focus has been energy technology and policy, including a leadership role in MIT multidisciplinary technology and policy studies addressing pathways to a low-carbon world (such as Future of Nuclear Power, of Coal, of Natural Gas and of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle). These studies had significant impact on energy policy.
Dr. Moniz received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in physics from Boston College, a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford University, and eight honorary doctorates1, including three from European universities. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and received the 1998 Seymour Cray HPCC Industry Recognition Award for vision and leadership in advancing scientific simulation. Among other awards, he is the recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Medals of the Department of Defense and of the Navy. He also was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Makarios III (Cyprus) and of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator (Portugal). Moniz received the Charles Percy Award of the Alliance to Save Energy and the Right Stuff Award of the Blue-Green Alliance Foundation. He is a Fellow of the American Physics Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Humboldt Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Moniz is a resident of Brookline Massachusetts with his wife Naomi of more than four decades, their daughter Katya, and grandchildren Alex and Eve. He is a very modestly accomplished but very enthusiastic practitioner of fly-fishing and soccer.
1. Athens University (Greece), University of Erlangen-Nurenberg (Germany), Michigan State University, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Universidad Pontifical de Comillas (Spain), Iowa State University, Boston University, Boston College.
Last Updated: Nov 2, 2022, 9:47am
Received the 1998 Seymour Cray HPCC Industry Recognition Award for vision and leadership in advancing scientific simulation. Among other awards, he is the recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Medals of the Department of Defense and of the Navy. He also was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Makarios III (Cyprus) and of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator (Portugal). Moniz received the Charles Percy Award of the Alliance to Save Energy and the Right Stuff Award of the Blue-Green Alliance Foundation. He is a Fellow of the American Physics Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Humboldt Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Outside Professional Activities
He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.