Aspen Institute Launches Cybersecurity Working Group

January 9, 2018

New effort combines respected voices from public and private sector

WASHINGTON, DC — The Aspen Institute launched on Friday its newest strategy group, a cross-sector public-private forum aimed at translating pressing cybersecurity conversations into action. The Aspen cyber group will facilitate robust conversation between 35 experts from both the public and private sectors on how to best address today’s cybersecurity challenges.

The group is co-chaired by three leading cybersecurity and technology leaders: U.S. Representative Will Hurd (R-TX), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Information Technology, and former White House Homeland Security Advisor Lisa O. Monaco, as well as IBM Chairman, President, and CEO Ginni Rometty.

Under the auspices of the Aspen Institute—a nonpartisan forum for values-based leadership and the exchange of ideas—the group is comprised of former government officials, Capitol Hill leaders, and industry executives, as well as respected voices from academia, journalism, and civil society.

“We are becoming more dependent on technologies each day, yet no comprehensive, nonpartisan group exists to keep up with the associated security implications across all sectors,” says Rep. Will Hurd. “I look forward to working with my fellow chairs and members of the Aspen Cyber Strategy Group to help facilitate a productive discussion between CEOs, lawmakers and academics that leads to concrete, tangible cybersecurity solutions that bolster information security and safety, without stifling innovation.”

“During my time in public service, both at the Justice Department and White House, I’ve seen cyber threats become the most pressing threats facing the United States on a daily basis,” said Lisa O. Monaco, former White House Homeland Security Advisor. “Today, cybersecurity isn’t just about keeping our credit card numbers safe—it’s about keeping our cities functioning, our lights on, our hospitals working, and our banks secure, and it’s increasingly central to protecting our democracy and the very values that Americans cherish. I’m excited to be co-chairing this group because I’ve seen how vital it is for the public sector and the private sector to work together to address urgent security challenges. This problem is bigger than any of us can tackle on our own.”

It will meet three times a year and convened for the first time Friday at IBM’s headquarters in Armonk, New York, where members agreed to focus their efforts in three key areas of need: (1) Improving operational collaboration between the public and private sector, as well as (2) developing the skills and education necessary for a workforce that will increasingly confront cybersecurity needs, and (3) securing and ensuring confidence in emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), quantum computing, and cryptography, among others.

The group also adopted a shared statement of principles, included below along with its preliminary membership list.

At their first meeting Friday, group members also heard from senior government cybersecurity leaders, including the principal deputy director of national intelligence, Sue Gordon, and Rob Joyce, acting deputy White House homeland security advisor and White House cybersecurity coordinator.

The Aspen Institute’s cybersecurity and technology program is led by John P. Carlin, who served as the assistant attorney general for national security from 2014 to 2016 and now serves as the global chair of the risk and crisis management team at the law firm Morrison & Foerster.

“My work in government and now with the private sector has made clear to me how much more work there is to do to unite stakeholders around shared cybersecurity goals,” Carlin says. “Too often, we’re still talking at cross-purposes, even when we share the same goals. Aspen’s new cyber group will help ensure that the cybersecurity conversation doesn’t get bogged down in stale talking points but actually moves theory to action.”

The new Aspen convening—modeled on the long-running and respected foreign policy-focused Aspen Strategy Group, currently chaired by Condoleezza Rice and Joseph S. Nye, Jr.—is being underwritten by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, as part of its cyber initiative. The Aspen Institute also is home to similar strategy groups focused on homeland security, health policy, and economic policy.

Cyber Strategy Group — Statement of Principles

Networked technologies have transformed global trade, entire industries, the nature of work, and the everyday lives of billions of people around the world. Yet in the United States and elsewhere, the promise of these technological changes is at risk of being undermined by a growing array of threats and vulnerabilities.

We seek to create a U.S. cybersecurity environment that instills trust in consumers and businesses and provides a sustainable platform for continued innovation, growth, and commerce.  Doing so requires giving public and private sector organizations the tools they need to mitigate risk, supported by a legal and policy framework that is tailored to the current threat landscape.

We are increasingly concerned that without sustained action, the United States stands to lose critical influence and innovation to others around the world. Notwithstanding the immense attention focused on the problem, ideas have too often failed to translate into action. Well-intended attempts to counter these threats remain disconnected, siloed, and paralyzed by divisive talking points that present false choices, such as “security versus innovation.”

The Aspen cyber strategy group seeks to fill that space as a nonpartisan, apolitical body focused on developing pragmatic, risk-based strategies for cybersecurity and advancing the development of concrete solutions that can be achieved without waiting for new legislation. The Group’s strength lies in its multi-partisan, cross-discipline, multi-sector engagement, including cyber leaders who bring a variety of perspectives to the conversation. It aims to be a resource for government, the private sector, and civil society as the United States navigates this still-unfolding policy landscape.

Our objective is to take cybersecurity policy discussions from theory to action. We see a critical need for advancing practical, real-world solutions that have broad support among stakeholders. We will achieve this by convening business leaders, policy makers, academics, NGOs, and privacy advocates to develop meaningful solutions to our most pressing cybersecurity challenges.

Aspen Cyber Group Membership List

(Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only and do not imply any specific institutional endorsement of any group statements or specific policy objectives.)

  • Lisa Monaco
  • Will Hurd
  • Ginni Rometty

Confirmed Members:

  • Keith Alexander, President and CEO, IronNet Cybersecurity
  • Sara Andrews, CISO, Pepsi
  • Monika Bickert, Head of Product Policy and Counterterrorism, Facebook
  • Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist, Google
  • Greg Clark, CEO, Symantec
  • Lorrie Faith Cranor, professor, Carnegie Mellon
  • Michael Daniel, President, Cyber Threat Alliance
  • Jim Dempsey, Executive Director, Center for Law & Technology, UC-Berkeley
  • Don Dixon, Managing Director, Trident Capital Cybersecurity
  • Lynn Good, CEO, Duke Energy
  • Alex Gorsky, CEO, Johnson & Johnson
  • Yasmin Green, Director of Research, Jigsaw
  • Michael Hayden, principal, The Chertoff Group
  • Susan Hennessey, managing editor, Lawfare
  • Omar Ishrak, CEO, Medtronic
  • Sean Joyce, practice leader, PwC
  • Herb Lin, professor, Stanford
  • Gilman Louie, partner, Alsop Louie
  • Brad Maiorino, Executive Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Chandra McMahon, CISO, Verizon
  • Greg Rattray, Managing Director for Cybersecurity, JPMorganChase
  • Former Rep. Mike Rogers, former chair, House Intelligence Committee
  • David Sanger, reporter, New York Times
  • Adam Schiff, ranking member, House Intelligence Committee
  • Phyllis Schneck, Managing Director for Cyber Solutions, IBM/Promontory
  • Bruce Sewall, former General Counsel, Apple
  • Alex Stamos, Chief Security Officer, Facebook
  • Kathy Warden, President and COO, Northrop Grumman
  • Michelle Zatlyn, COO and co-founder, Cloudflare
  • Jonathan Zittrain, Director, Harvard Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society
  • Jane Harman (ex-officio)
  • Michael Chertoff (ex-officio)
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