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.”
Mr. Paul Kolbe is a Senior Fellow and the former Director of the Intelligence Project at the Belfer Center.
Paul served for 25 years in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations in a variety of foreign and domestic roles, including as Chief of Station, Chief/Central Eurasia Division, and Balkans Group Chief. His overseas assignments included operational and leadership roles in the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, and Central Europe. He was a member of the Senior Intelligence Service and is a recipient of the Intelligence Medal of Merit and the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal.
Following his CIA career, Kolbe was Director for Intelligence and Analysis at BP, where he built an enterprise-wide intelligence capability focused on geo-political threats, strategic cyber threats, and support to commercial operations. Clients included C-suite leadership, global business units, security networks, and legal teams. Kolbe is a Senior Advisor to the Martin + Crumpton Group and Spycraft Entertainment.
In September 2023, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas named Kolbe to the Homeland Intelligence Experts Group to provide advice and perspectives on intelligence and national security efforts to the Office of Intelligence and Analysis and the Office of Counterterrorism Coordinator.
He is also a member of the Cipher Brief network of experts and is an alumnus of Michigan State University’s James Madison College, where he studied International Relations. Kolbe has been married to Maureen Farrell Kolbe for 32 years and is a proud father of 3 great children, all of whom desperately resist his attempts at humor.Last Updated: Sep 20, 2023, 1:10pm