Emerging Technology and Security

This program focuses on understanding the impact of emerging technologies on national and international security, as well as on the prospects for defense transformation. For example, what role will nanotechnology, cognitive science, biotechnology, and converging sciences have on states vs. non-state actors, manned vs. unmanned systems, balances of power, the offense-defense balance, deterrence and coercive strategies, security doctrines, nonproliferation regimes, and national defense programmatic choices? Are military organizations up to the task of embracing and sustaining such potentially disruptive technological innovations? Related projects aim to develop robust analytical frameworks for assessing the impact of new technology on national and international security, and for identifying policy measures to prevent or manage proliferation of the next generation of “WMD.”

Subordinated Projects:

The Dynamics of Command and Control in Cyber Conflict Escalation: a Scenario Based Examination

The system in place to respond to cyber-security events is described best as a “patch- work”. Governments are struggling to create robust and resilient cyber response infrastructure. However, the evolution and dispersion of technology has spread technical capability and resources widely amongst various constituencies across private, public, civil and military domains. This “patch-work” approach has resulted in a diverse array of stakeholders, leaving the processes of coordination uncertain while also potentially complicating the control of conflict escalation across multiple avenues of action. Can dynamics associated with cyber conflict exacerbate the phenomenon of escalation pertinent to other conflict vectors? For example, can actions taken by a private sector entity in response to a large scale cyber-attack (on their privately owned infrastructure) emanating from a nation-state serve to limit options within the traditional civil/military hierarchy and chain of command?

This project is leveraging a scenario-based approach to examining and assessing decision-making in the interagency, intergovernmental, and international realms during times of possible conflict escalation within and around the cyber-domain. Professor Michael Salomone, Associate Professor Jenna Jordan, and Chris McDermott have taught a seminar in scenario and path-gaming as part of this current project. Students have developed almost 40 scenarios which have been briefed to members of the USG, private sector, and academic communities.

This project is sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. 

Nanotechnology for Chemical and Biological Defense 2030

The Nanotechnology for Chemical and Biological Defense 2030 Workshop and Study (NanoCBD2030) explores the potential defensive use and offensive misuse of nanoscience, nanotechnology, nanoengineering, and analogous emerging technologies. The purpose is to develop strategies for guiding federal research directions in basic and applied science that may foster transformational breakthroughs in nanotechnology-based chemical and biological countermeasures for the next twenty-five years. This project brings together a diverse set of practitioners and researchers (leading scientists at the cutting-edge of nanoscience and other emerging technical paradigms, experts on military operations, active duty military officers, defense and international security policy experts from academia and across the federal government, futurists, and intelligence community members) to devise scenarios regarding the potential benefits and potential threats of nanotechnology to national security.

Nanotechnology Threat Anticipation: Building a Technical Framework for Assessing Offensive versus Defensive Technology Pathways

This project aims to develop a framework for enabling proactive intelligence methods to identify applications of nanotechnology that are a concern for national security. The focus is on developing a measure (confidence level, error, etc.) for discriminating among those research and development pathways that are purely benign or defensive and those that are offensive, as well as considering those pathways that are ambiguous. This project builds directly upon unique prior nanotechnology countermeasures development, threat assessments, and laboratory experience of the Principal Investigator. The project is sponsored by the Director of National Intelligence's Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).