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.”
Nicholas Hanson is a Class of 2024 HKS MPP / HBS MBA joint degree candidate. Prior to attending graduate school, he served for eight years as a Ground Intelligence Officer in the United States Marine Corps. During that time, Nicholas was posted in Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Bangladesh, and Hawaii. He matriculated at Harvard in 2019, and subsequently left in 2020 given the educational implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. He served as a White House policy intern in the Office of the Vice President, and then joined Vannevar Labs, a venture-backed defense technology start-up focused on natural language processing for the Department of Defense and U.S. Intelligence Community.
Nicholas grew up on a family farm in western Illinois. He graduated with Distinction in 2011 from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. in Arabic. He currently resides in Watertown, MA.