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.”
Lisa O. Monaco is a non-resident senior fellow with the Belfer Center’s Homeland Security Project.
Monaco served as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism between 2013 and 2017. As the President’s Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, she was responsible for advising the President on all aspects of counterterrorism policy and strategy and coordinating homeland security-related activities on issues ranging from terrorist attacks at home and abroad to cybersecurity, pandemics, and natural disasters. Monaco also chaired the Cabinet-level Homeland Security Principals’ Committee which advises the President on homeland security policy issues and crises. She is currently Co-Chair of the Aspen Cyber Strategy Group.
Prior to her service in the White House, Monaco spent 15 years at the Department of Justice, where she served both as a career federal prosecutor and in senior management positions at the Department and the FBI. She was Counsel to and then Chief of Staff at the FBI. In 2011, Monaco was nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as Assistant Attorney General for National Security, the first woman to serve in that position. Monaco made investigating and prosecuting national security cyber threats a top priority during her tenure and under her leadership, a nationwide network of national security cyber prosecutors was created.
A graduate of Harvard University and the University of Chicago Law School, Monaco began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Jane R. Roth on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She is a recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, the Justice Department’s highest award, for her work on the Enron Task Force, as well as the Edmund J. Randolph Award, which is awarded by the Attorney General in recognition of outstanding contributions to the accomplishment of the mission of the Department of Justice.Last Updated: