Feb. 18, 2015
There is perhaps no issue that has grown more important, more rapidly, on so many different levels, than cybersecurity. It affects personal privacy, business prosperity and the wider economy, as well as national security and international relations. It is a field that matters for everything from human rights and corporate profits to fundamental issues of war and peace. And with the rapid growth in both the number of people and devices coming online across the globe, the security of information systems is only going to grow in importance. Yet, while ever more amounts are spent each year, our collective understanding of the problem remains immature and both public policy and private sector efforts have failed to match the scale or complexity of this challenge for us all. The Internet has connected us, but the policies and debates that surround the security of our networks are too often disconnected, disjoint, and stuck in an unsuccessful status quo.
This is what New America’s new Cybersecurity Initiative is designed to address. We believe that it takes a wider network to face the network of diverse security issues. Success in this endeavor will require collaboration - across organizations, issue areas, professional fields and business sectors, as well as local, state, and international borders. By highlighting bold new ideas, bringing in new voices with fresh perspectives, breaking down issue and organizational barriers while building up a new field of study, encouraging new research approaches to the next generation of cybersecurity issues, connecting and creating new constituencies, and providing vibrant media and policy platforms to support that creativity, we can aid in pushing forward the cyber policy needed right now and better set us up for success tomorrow.
The nature of this new kind of approach to a new kind of 21st century problem is exactly why New America was built. We are a new kind of think tank, entrepreneurial in its ethos, nonpartisan in its research and advocacy, transparent in its funding, that specializes in bringing together individuals from a wide range of different backgrounds on the new set of opportunities and challenges facing America in the 21st century. Not only are we the only such organization with technologists on staff, but we also bring to the discussion world-renown experts in fields that range from international and national security strategy to privacy and human rights. We also take an approach that is focused on partnership building, notably beyond the DC Beltway (we also have an office in New York and are building a presence in California), connecting the next generation of leaders and experts from across the world into a network of offices and global media partnerships.
Initially the new Cybersecurity Initiative at New America will have three major elements:
- Networks: Supported by our partnership with the Hewett Foundation, we will build
- A network of National Cyber Fellows, pulling together thinkers from across the United States, from in and outside the cyber policy community, to write and contribute new thinking to the policy debate.
- An International Cyber Network to write and comment on cybersecurity issues from a range of vantage points, providing a unique set of foreign perspectives to what is an inherently global field.
- A series of media partnerships to connect the above networks into and push forward wider public discourse. These include New America’s relationship with Slate Magazine and its Future Tense blog, a new cybersecurity focused podcast co-hosted with Christian Science Monitor, its “Future of War” programming with Defense One/The Atlantic, and launch event with CNN.
- Events: We are excited to work with our networks and other partners - both in DC and across our wider footprint - to support events that promote the initiative’s objectives.
- A Policy/Business Roundtable aimed at bringing together some of the best thinkers from the policy and business communities to discuss common approaches to emerging or under-addressed cybersecurity policy issues. This thinking will then form the basis of further work to drive the policy agenda.
- An Annual Conference bringing together diverse expert communities and policy leaders, while highlighting bold new ideas.
- A series of public events addressing both emerging issues and especially highlighting the work of our Fellows and network members.
- Research and Advocacy: We will continue to build on our extensive policy research and focus especially on developing cybersecurity policy approaches that are realistic, yet scalable and impactful.
- A series of reports and papers featuring original research, designed to push forward the next generation of ideas and thinkers.
- A suite of new online resources and databases, such as the cyber definitions database recently completed by New America’s cyber team, made available for media, government, and other researchers to leverage in their own work.
- Through the wider partnerships and a focus on impact, we will engage both the wider public and policy makers directly, building a networked case for action on topics that will range from the protection of civil liberties within cyber debates to new military thinking about cybersecurity topics. As a network, our building community will often represent a range of opinions on any particular issues, but will always be designed for widening the engagement of communities and pushing the debate forward.
In taking forward our new Cybersecurity Initiative, New America will leverage expertise from across the organization, particularly the Open Technology Institute and the International Security Program. Bios for the core team can be found here.