Michael Sulmeyer

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Dr. Michael Sulmeyer is the Belfer Center's Cyber Security Project director at the Harvard Kennedy School. He recently concluded several years in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, serving most recently as the Director for Plans and Operations for Cyber Policy. He was also Senior Policy Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy. In these jobs, he worked closely with the Joint Staff and Cyber Command on a variety of efforts to counter malicious cyber activity against U.S. and DoD interests. Previously, he worked on arms control and the maintenance of strategic stability between the United States, Russia, and China. As a Marshall Scholar, Sulmeyer received his doctorate in Politics from Oxford University, and his dissertation, "Money for Nothing: Understanding the Termination of U.S. Major Defense Acquisition Programs," won the Sir Walter Bagehot Prize for best dissertation in government and public administration. He received his B.A. and J.D. from Stanford University and his M.A. in War Studies from King's College London.

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Donald Trump

Assessing the Draft Cyber Executive Order

Amidst the whirlwind of executive orders and presidential memoranda that have been in the news, it was easy to miss a purported draft of President Trump’s first executive order (EO) covering cybersecurity issues, leaked to the Washington Post and released on Friday, January 27. The order, titled “Strengthening U.S. Cyber Security and Capabilities,” calls for several 60- and 100-day assessments of the state of U.S.


Three Observations on China's Approach to State Action in Cyberspace

We just returned from 36 hours in Beijing as part of a small group of American academics and government representatives to meet with Chinese counterparts about contemporary issues in cybersecurity. This is the 10th round of this dialogue, led by U.S. think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Chinese think-tank China Institute for Contemporary International Relations (CICIR).

Campaign 2016

Cybersecurity Threats to American Elections

My colleague Ben Buchanan and I have written a paper on cybersecurity threats to American elections. While we examine operations that try to influence American voters—like the much-publicized hack of various Democratic Party entities—we also examine threats to voting infrastructure itself. We consider the motivations of hackers for targeting elections, the plausible threats to election security, and the effects of real and perceived manipulation.


Indicting Hackers and Known Vulnerabilities

In March, the Justice Department unsealed an indictment against seven Iranians for hacking the U.S. financial sector and a dam in New York. Debate ensued between supporters and skeptics of using indictments to hold hackers accountable. Supporters like FBI Director James Comey believe they can discourage hackers with the message that “The FBI will find those behind cyber intrusions and hold them accountable — wherever they are, and whoever they are.” Skeptics, like Fred Kagan, argue that unless the U.S.