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Online Operations

Vol. 7 No. 1 | 2020 Edition
Josephine Wolff

Cybersecurity: State Attack and
Response Strategies

A Conversation with Dr. Josephine Wolff

Interviewed by Ta-Chun Su

Fletcher Security Review (FSR): Professor Wolff, thank you very much for speaking with us today. To begin, can you start by explaining what cybersecurity as a discipline means for you?

Josephine Wolff (JW): I think my focus has always been on looking at the intersection of technical, social, legal, and policy levers around cybersecurity. One of the questions that has always been very interesting to me is “Who do we hold responsible when something goes wrong with cybersecurity?” While that is a technical question—because often when something goes wrong, there is a technical component since you are dealing with a computer and the Internet—it also very much has to do with what our liability regimes say, what our policies say, what our social norms and expectations say about who we hold accountable and who is expected to pay for the damage. So for me, I think cybersecurity is about trying to understand what we mean when we talk about the "secure Internet,” what it looks like to have a secure Internet, and who we hold responsible for all the different components of how you get there. To whom do we say “It’s your job not to answer the phishing emails,” or “It’s your job to look for bug traffic on the network.” How do we piece together that entirely complicated ecosystem of different stakeholders, and how do we identify what their different roles and responsibilities should be? ...


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Dr. Josephine Wolff

Dr. Josephine Wolff is an assistant professor of cybersecurity policy at The Fletcher School. Prior to joining Fletcher in 2019, she was an assistant professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, and a fellow in New America's Cybersecurity Initiative. Dr. Wolff’s research interests include international Internet governance, cyber-insurance, and security responsibilities and liability of online intermediaries. She received her Ph.D. in Engineering Systems and M.S. in Technology & Policy from MIT, and an A.B. in mathematics from Princeton University. Her book You’ll See This Message When It Is Too Late: The Legal and Economic Aftermath of Cybersecurity Breaches was published in 2018 by MIT Press.

Col. Liam Collins

Fletcher Security Review (FSR): Colonel Collins, thanks for coming in for your interview with the Fletcher Security Review. You gave an ISSP luncheon lecture at The Fletcher School on Russian hybrid war, Ukraine, and U.S. policy. I’d like to start with hybrid warfare. For the sake of definition, what is hybrid warfare?

Col. Liam Collins (LC): Hybrid warfare is kind of a mix of conventional and unconventional tactics using modern technologies, information operations, electronic warfare, and kind of transitioning from one to the other in a highly flexible, fluid format and method...

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Col. Liam Collins


Colonel Liam Collins is a career Special Forces officer, who has served in a variety of special operations assignments and conducted multiple combat operations to Afghanistan and Iraq as well as operational deployments to Bosnia, Africa, and South America. He has graduated from several military courses including Ranger School and has earned numerous military awards and decorations including two valorous awards for his actions in combat. Prior to assuming his current position as the director of MWI, Liam served as the director of West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center. He has taught courses in Military Innovation, Insurgency and Counterinsurgency, Comparative Defense Politics, Research Methods in Strategic Studies, Homeland Security and Defense, Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Internal Conflict, International Relations, American Politics, and Officership. He has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Military Academy and a Master in Public Affairs and PhD from Princeton University. — Modern War Institute

Dr. Andrea Kendall-Taylor

Russian Hybrid War, Ukraine, and
U.S. Policy

A Conversation with Col. Liam Collins

Interviewed by Lukas Bundonis

Fletcher Security Review (FSR): Good Afternoon Dr. Kendall-Taylor, thank you for speaking with us. Your recent talk at Fletcher on the evolution of autocracy and democratic decline in Europe and Eurasia was fascinating, but it raised even more questions, so let’s jump right in.

We’d like to start by digging deeper into your interpretation of the Russian reshuffling that we’re seeing. Clearly, Putin is looking for a way to maintain his power after his term ends in 2024. Is there anything you can see that might get in the way of this plan? In other words, do you think it will work?

Andrea Kendall-Taylor (AKT): I do think it will work, based largely on the way these types of transitions tend to play out in other authoritarian regimes. When you look at the data on regimes that look most like Putin—these highly personalized authoritarian regimes where leaders have been in power for fifteen years or more—the most common way that transitions tend to occur is through a natural death in office. It is around forty percent, which is pretty high, then it’s about fif‐ teen percent through protests, fifteen percent through coups, and it goes down from there. If I were playing the odds in Las Vegas, I would guess that he has a high prospect of pulling this off in a way that enables him to continue to pull the strings of power well beyond 2024, even until he eventually dies in office. But you know, although a coup is probably unlikely in Russia, the statistical breakdown of protests and coups at fifteen percent each isn’t nothing and the country certainly has relatively high levels of discontent over economic stagnation...

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Dr. Andrea Kendall-Taylor


Dr. Andrea Kendall-Taylor is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Transatlantic Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, focusing on Russia, populism and threats to democracy, and the state of the Transatlantic alliance. She previously served as the Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Prior to that, Kendall-Taylor was a senior analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, where she worked on Russia and Eurasia, the political dynamics of autocracies, and democratic decline. Kendall-Taylor is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.


The Russia-China Relationship
and Democratic Decline

A Conversation with Dr. Andrea Kendall-Taylor

Interviewed by Lukas Bundonis and Grady Jacobsen
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