Former Pentagon Official Michael Sulmeyer Joins Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center as Director of Cyber Security Project

February 2, 2016

Cambridge, MA – Michael Sulmeyer, former Director for Plans and Operations for Cyber Policy at the Department of Defense, has joined the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs as Director of its new Cyber Security Project. The Project, created by a $15 million gift from Center namesake Robert Belfer and his family, aims to build a conceptual arsenal to address the ways conflict may be waged and avoided in cyberspace. Sulmeyer’s research will anchor this effort, focusing on key questions such as the function of deterrence in cyberspace and how government and the private sector can work together in a crisis.

“Cyber attacks are among the greatest threats to U.S. national security in the decade ahead,” said Belfer Center Director Graham Allison. “Michael’s experience in working at the senior level of government in addressing these issues will be immensely valuable to the Harvard community."

“Michael adds a critical perspective to our program,” said Daniel Schrag, Director of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program in which the new Cyber Security Project sits. “His energy and creativity will help guide us in tackling a security challenge that continues to evolve with new technology.”

“It’s an honor to join the Belfer Center and to lead the security dimension of the Belfer family’s generous gift,” Sulmeyer said. “Harvard has a diversity of talent in disciplines that concern conflict in cyberspace. Making sure our effort benefits from their talents, research, and expertise is a priority.”

In addition to Graham Allison, Jack Goldsmith, Joseph Nye, and Daniel Schrag, the Project’s Steering Group will include Belfer Center Senior Fellows including former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff James Cartwright, former CIA Director and General David Petraeus, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller, and recently retired Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff James “Sandy” Winnefeld.

“So many pressing questions dominate the public discourse about cybersecurity, but often with worst-case doomsday predictions,” Sulmeyer added. “My goal is to get to ground truth.”

Sulmeyer joins the Center after working for several years in the Pentagon’s Office of the Secretary of Defense. There, as the Senior Policy Advisor and Director, his team worked closely with the military commands on developing cyberspace plans and operations. Earlier, he was a senior fellow with the Defense Industrial Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He served previously in government as policy advisor for arms control and strategic stability to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. He received his undergraduate (BA) degree with honors in international security and a law (JD) degree from Stanford University. As a Marshall Scholar, he also received a master’s (MA) with distinction in War Studies from King’s College London, and a doctorate (DPhil) in politics from Oxford University, where he won the Sir Walter Bagehot Prize for best doctoral dissertation in government studies. He is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Contact:Sharon Wilke, Associate Director of Communications, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; 617-495-9858.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Former Pentagon Official Michael Sulmeyer Joins Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center as Director of Cyber Security Project.” News, , February 2, 2016.