Cyber Project

The Institute for Law, Science, and Global Security currently hosts Georgetown University's Cyber Project, directed by Dr. Catherine Lotrionte. With an increasing demand for policy development in conjunction with legal analysis of cybersecurity measures, the Institute added the Cyber Project as a major element to its work. To launch the project more formally, Georgetown University hosted a panel discussion on the topic of Integrating Disciplines: Cybersecurity Law and Policy. The event included representatives from the public, private, and scientific communities including General Michael Hayden and Lawrence Livermore National Security Laboratory.

Many believe that it will take a major event to change the way the American people perceive threats associated with the cyber domain. We, at the Institute, feel that it’s more important to start working on these issues now before it’s too late. With more and more people logging on to the Internet and our increased exposure to the globalized world, it will be important to develop policies that will promote information sharing and cooperation rather than isolationism and fear.

The biggest concern for the government as well as private companies is the protection of networks. At this point, little has been done from a legal perspective to analogize our current laws to the cyber domain. Furthermore, legislation that implements policies related to cybersecurity are slow going as a result of the need for improved education efforts for the American public. Due to the recent high-profile cyber attacks at Google and speculation as to the Brazilian power failure, the sense of urgency surrounding risks in the cyber domain has increased. Since 2008, the Institute has worked to incorporate topics relating to cybersecurity into its research and classroom discussions in order to better prepare the next generation of policymakers on the subject.  

The Cyber Project is an integral part of the Institute’s work in pulling resources from around the University while focusing the academic and policy components of this emerging domain for the public and private sectors. During the summer of 2009, meetings were held that brought in the expertise and experience of General Hayden to the Institute.  Gen. Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency has joined the Cyber Project as a senior advisor in order to help the Institute better integrate law, policy and technology to tackle the issue of cybersecurity. While at Georgetown, Hayden will work alongside faculty and researchers to create viable proposals for policymakers in defending the digital domain. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table and will be able to provide the cyber project with guidance on where to focus its energy and resources.

Georgetown University employs a a large number of dedicated professionals and experts in a variety of key fields.  The Institute for Law, Science, and Global Security is working with programs across the University and beyond its walls in the area of cybersecurity including:

  • Georgetown Department of Computer Science
  • Georgetown School of Law
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University
  • Georgetown School of Medicine
  • Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
    • Center for Peace and Security Studies
    • Georgetown Security Studies Program
    • Georgetown Science, Technology, and International Affairs Program
  • Private Partnerships

Together, through collaboration and innovation, Georgetown is able to foster an academic environment that produces original research and policy recommendations that play a significant role in the global community. It also works with our partners such as national security labs and Fortune 500 companies to develop meaningful solutions for the challenges facing the US government and its citizens.

The partnership with Livermore has been developing since 2009 thanks to a mutual concern for developing technology that will not only defend domestic networks and critical infrastructure, but also protect civil liberties. It is critical to both parties that these systems are legally acceptable before significant resources are spent in developing prototypes. From here, companies are able to take the technology and mass-produce it for public and private entities. By starting the process with the law, all parties are assured that their programs will be able to withstand scrutiny from oversight boards as well as the general public.

The Institute has been working with the Bipartisan Policy Center to develop viable scenarios for the event. Drawing on the legal and policy expertise of faculty and staff, the Institute was able to build on the Center’s plans for conducting the Cyber ShockWave with the goal of raising awareness for areas of improvement. The general reaction from the event was that the United States is ill prepared for a cyber attack targeting not only our domain, but also the infrastructure that relies on it. Fundamental changes are needed in order to address these concerns and policy must be developed that will enhance our capabilities for preventing and responding to attacks or disruptions.

For more information on panels:

The Cyber Project also supports research on legal and policy objectives for the government and private industry.  Areas of current scholarship include: