Roundtable Discussions on National Cyber Security Issues

  • The Objective

    Since 2007, security experts from academia and industry have met on the IUP or University of Pittsburgh campuses for a series of detailed discussions on national cyber security topics. These events, hosted by the Political Science Department, have met in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2014 with the goal of gaining a better understanding of cyberspace’s national security dimensions.

    Themes of these research workshops include terrorists’ use of the Internet; cyber threats, challenges, and response; and the characterization of cyberspace’s structure, nature, and functionality.

    Participants

    Over the course of the roundtable discussions, the following have participated in all of some of the discussions:

    • Dr. David Chambers, Political Science Department, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    • Dr. Waleed Farag, Computer Science Department, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    • Dr. Dighton Fiddner, Political Science Department, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    • Dr. Davis Bobrow, Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh
    • Dr. Dan Chenoff, Director, IBM Center for the Business of Government
    • Dr. Mike Driscoll, President, IUP (Friday 8:30–11:30 only)
    • Dr. Issac Porche RAND Corp.
    • Dr. Jeffrey S. Crane, Executive Director, IUP John P. Murtha Institute for Homeland Security
    • Mr. Casey Dunlevy, Carnegie Mellon University, CERT, Software Engineering Institute
    • Dr. Waleed Farag, IUP, Computer Science Department
    • Dr. Schuyler (Sky) Foerster, President, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh
    • Dr. Michael Fowler, Roger Williams University, Political Science Department/U.S. Naval War College
    • Dr. Steve Jackson, IUP, Political Science Department
    • Dr. Tom Longstaff, Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory
    • Dr. Benoit Morel, Carnegie Mellon University, Engineering and Public Policy, and Physics
    • Dr. Ken Sochats, University of Pittsburgh, Director of Center for National Preparedness
    • Dr. Phil Williams, Visiting Research Fellow, U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, and Graduate School of International and Public Affairs, University of Pittsburgh
    • Dr. Gawdat Bahgat, IUP, Political Science Department, Director of IUP’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies

    The Forum

    The panelists met on the IUP campus for daylong meetings in a roundtable setting. The 2007, 2013, and 2014 forums provided live video stream to classrooms where students could observe the discussions. Furthermore, students were given the opportunities to interject their ideas and ask questions. Footage of the entire 2007, 2013, and 2014 meetings, as well as footage of the discussions of the 2009 roundtable at the University of Pittsburgh, are available on YouTube.

    Outcomes

    These discussions were fruitful and fostered these publications:

    Letter to Congress, 2010.

    • The open letter to the relevant committees and subcommittees of Congress signed by all roundtable participants urged imminent action, to include legislation, on the U.S.’ Internet security deficiencies. 

    Phil Williams and Dighton Fiddner, Cyberspace: Malevolent Actors, Criminal Opportunities, and Strategic Competition, The Strategic Studies Institute (SSI), 2015.

    • This volume is a collection of chapters on the concepts and trends, challenges and threats, and responding to threats in cyberspace. It provides analyses about cyberspace’s strategic role in national security. 

    Fiddner, D., Defining a Framework for Decision Making in Cyberspace, IBM Center for the Business of Government, 2015.

    • This research report presents a new contemporary characterization of cyberspace which takes into account security and risk management with the purpose of enabling prompt and intelligent decision making.

    Fiddner, D., “Cyberspace’s Strategic Domain’s Implications for National Security”, Jagiellonian University Conference 2015 Interdisciplinary Approaches to Security in the Changing World, Krakow, Poland, June 18–20, 2015.

    • This conference presentation provides a more nuanced characterization of cyberspace and its conflating threat/response vectors’ implications for national security. Cyberspace now seems to be diffusing the sphere from where threats emanate to jeopardize any level of security (personal, national, and collective) and the possible response to those threats.

    Fiddner, D., “Managing Cyberspace National Security,” Peace Studies Society (PSS)–International Studies Association (ISA) Joint Conference, Budapest, Hungary, June 27–29, 2013.

    • This conference presentation identifies cyberspace as the most pervasive global security challenge of the future. Global collective action to establish explicit norms and deterrence to establish tacit norms seem to offer the best approach to order the cyberspace security environment and marginally satisfy the demands of both domains. Deterrence, especially “specific” deterrence, but also “general” deterrence, can serve to create and reinforce those collectively accepted tacit norms of behavior to satisfy marginally, but not completely, the demands of the national security stakeholders, as well as thwarting malevolent behavior. 

    Fiddner, D., “Strategy in the [Missile] Cyber Age”, British International Studies Association (BISA) and the International Studies (ISA) Joint International Conference in 2012, Edinburgh, UK, June 20–22, 2012.

    • This conference presentation compares current cyberspace national security policy with the Cold War’s early nuclear policy. Even with the potential for serious deleterious damage to the health, safety, economy, and public confidence of society in the (most-) developed states, cyberspace national security policy and strategy is, frankly, at the same state chronologically as nuclear policy and strategy in 1959 when Bernard Brodie wrote his seminal book, Strategy in the Missile Age. Lack of knowledge, bureaucratic red tape, ineffectual and inconsistent policies, and a paucity of authoritative leadership have all combined to undermine serious attempts to develop and implement a coherent cyberspace national security policy or forward-looking strategy to address the risks to the United States’ cyber vulnerability and national security since 1992.

    Fiddner, D. “Medieval Ideology and 21st Century Technology: Al Qaeda, Terrorism and the Internet”, 49th Annual ISA Convention, San Francisco, CA, March 26–March 29, 2008.

    • This conference presentation provided the results of the first research roundtable of October 2007 and discussed the public policy options the United States’ government has available to counter inclusively, instead of just fragmentally, the effects of terrorists’ use of the digital information system, and how can it decide in which order to implement them for greatest productivity and effect.

    Sponsored-student research.

    • IUP and University of Pittsburgh student competition produced analyses of specific cyber risks (North Korea, al Qaeda, and Russian organized crime) to U.S. national security.

    For Further Information, Contact:

    Dr. Dighton Fiddner

    Associate Professor
    Political Science
    Keith Annex, Room 101
    724-357-2290
    Dighton.Fiddner@iup.edu