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.”
The following is Ambassador Marcie Ries' biography when she was a Senior Fellow with the Future of Diplomacy Project from 2019-2020.
Ambassador (Ret.) Marcie Ries is a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center's Future of Diplomacy Project. She is also a Senior Advisor in the Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute Leadership and Management School.
During thirty-seven years of diplomatic service, she served in Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. She is a three-time Chief of Mission, serving as Head of the U.S. Office Pristina, Kosovo (2003-2004); as United States Ambassador to Albania (2004-2007); and, most recently (2012-2015), as United States Ambassador to Bulgaria.
Ambassador Ries has wide experience on UN, European and security matters and was a senior member of the team that negotiated the 2011 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with the Russian Federation. In 2008-2009, Ambassador Ries was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR). In that capacity, she had responsibility for offices dealing with relations with the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO), the European Union (EU) and Western Europe, as well as strategic planning and personnel. EUR includes 50 countries and 72 posts. From 2007-2008, the period known as “the surge,” Ambassador Ries was Minister-Counselor for Political-Military Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. As such, she handled regional issues with the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, coordinated the civilian side of the Joint Campaign Plan and served as Embassy liaison with the Military Command Staff. As Director of the State Department’s Office of United Nations Political Affairs for the two years following the 9/11 attack, she organized State Department support for U.S. representatives in the General Assembly and in the Security Council. Ambassador Ries’ experience abroad also includes service as Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in London, four years at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, and tours in Turkey and the Dominican Republic. At the Foreign Service Institute, she serves as a senior mentor for U.S. ambassadors preparing for their ambassadorships and other senior officers undertaking new leadership responsibilities. She also speaks to students and professional groups on leadership and European issues.
Ambassador Ries is a graduate of Oberlin College and holds a Masters Degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She is a graduate of the State Department’s Senior Seminar and the Department of Defense Pinnacle Course and is a recipient of the U.S. Army’s Distinguished Civilian Service Medal and a Presidential Meritorious Service Award. She serves on the Board of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the American College of Sophia.Last Updated: Mar 9, 2021, 4:33pm