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Understanding Cyberattack as an Instrument of U.S. Policy

April 15, 2010

herb-linThe UNM Center for Science, Technology, and Policy (CSTP) and the Computer Science Department will hold a joint colloquium and panel “Understanding Cyberattack as an Instrument of U.S. Policy" on Thursday, April 22 at 2 p.m. in Mechanical Engineering 218 on the UNM main campus in Albuquerque.

Photo: Herb Lin, chief scientist, National Research Council’s Computer Science and Telecommunications Board

Herbert S. Lin was the director of a 2009 National Academy study on “Technology, Policy Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities.” He is the chief scientist for the National Research Council’s Computer Science and Telecommunications Board where he directs major study projects at the intersection of public policy and information technology. He previously served as a staff scientist in defense policy and arms control for the House Armed Services Committee. He holds a doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Much has been written about the possibility that terrorists or hostile nations might conduct cyberattacks against critical sectors of the U.S. economy. However, the possibility that the United States might conduct its own cyberattacks -- defensively or otherwise -- has received almost no public discussion. Recently, the US National Academies performed a comprehensive unclassified study of the technical, legal, ethical, and policy issues surrounding cyberattack as an instrument of U.S. policy. This talk will provide a framework for understanding this emerging topic and the critical issues that surround it.

Lin’s talk will be followed at the same location at 3 p.m. by a panel discussion which will include:

  • David Ackley associate professor UNM Department of Computer Science, External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute;
  • Daniel Dennett Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University and Miller Scholar at Santa Fe Institute;
  • Robert Hutchinson Sr. Manager for Computer Science and Information Operations Sandia National Laboratories;
  • Herbert Lin Chief Scientist at the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Research Council of the National Academies;
  • Andrew Ross director of the UNM Center for Science, Technology and Policy and professor in the UNM Dept. of Political Science

The report is available at: Cyber Attack Report.

A PDF format is also available: Cyber Attack.

Questions about this event can be directed to