Reforming national cyber defense


William J. Perry Conference Room

Encina Hall, 2nd floor

616 Serra Street

Stanford, CA 94305

Abstract: The U.S. government continues to struggle with how best to defend the country from cyber attacks. Reacting out in frustration, Senator John McCain wondered aloud if the United States should consider what lessons can be learned from a new cyber defense organization in the United Kingdom called the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC). In this paper, Stuart Russell and Michael Sulmeyer examine the NCSC, its origins, its missions, and its effectiveness. They then consider how certain aspects of the NCSC might map onto the more complicated governance structure around cyber defense in the United States. Despite important differences between the United Kingdom and the United States, they conclude that there is a great deal the United States can adapt from the United Kingdom’s efforts, particularly the NCSC’s ambitious Active Defense agenda. 

Speaker Bio: Dr. Michael Sulmeyer is the Belfer Center's Cyber Security Project Director at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is also a Contributing Editor for the national security blog Lawfare. Before Harvard, he served as the Director for Plans and Operations for Cyber Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. There, he worked closely with the Joint Staff and Cyber Command on a variety of efforts to counter malicious cyber activity against U.S. and DoD interests. For this work, he received the Secretary Medal for Exceptional Public Service.

Previously, he worked on arms control and the maintenance of strategic stability between the United States, Russia, and China. As a Marshall Scholar, Sulmeyer received his PhD (DPhil) in Politics from Oxford University, and his dissertation, "Money for Nothing: Understanding the Termination of U.S. Major Defense Acquisition Programs," won the Sir Walter Bagehot Prize for best dissertation in government and public administration. He received his B.A. and J.D. from Stanford University and his M.A. in War Studies from King's College London. In the mid-1990s, he was the System Operator (SysOp) of The Summit BBS in Santa Barbara, California.