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  • Mon

    NPWG Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jacquelyn Schneider

    5:30 pm

    Join us for our open Keynote Speaker Event, Dr. Jacquelyn Schneider who will be speaking to us on the cyber-nuclear relationship!

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    How do cyber operations impact nuclear stability?  In the movie WarGames, a 1980s teenager hacks into a U.S. nuclear control program, almost starting a nuclear war. This movie has become a common illustration for the dangers of increasingly digitized nuclear arsenals and reflects what many scholars and practitioners see as the most perilous implication of the rise of cyberattacks--instability to states' nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3). Research conducted during the Cold War suggested that even the threat of serious vulnerabilities to states' NC3 could incentivize preemptive launches of nuclear weapons. Despite this widespread concern about the destabilizing effects of NC3 vulnerabilities, there is almost no empirical research to support these conclusions. In this talk, I discuss existing theories of cyber and nuclear stability and discuss results of the International Crisis Wargame Series, which used an experimentally-designed war game to explore the role that vulnerabilities and exploits within a hypothetical NC3 architecture played in decisions to use nuclear weapons. Based on the findings from this series, I discuss the somewhat counter-intuitive relationship between cyber operations and over-confidence, counter-force, and automation and preview subsequent work on cyber, the role of network characteristics, and concerns about nuclear warning.

    Jacquelyn Schneider is a Hoover Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a non resident fellow at the Naval War College's Cyber and Innovation Policy Institute. Her research focuses on the intersection of technology, national security, and political psychology with a special interest in cybersecurity, unmanned technologies, and Northeast Asia. Her work has appeared in Security Studies, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Strategic Studies Quarterly, Simulations & Gaming, Journal of Cybersecurity, The Washington Quarterly, Journal of Strategic Studies and is featured in Cross Domain Deterrence: Strategy in an Era of Complexity (Oxford University Press, 2019). In addition to her scholarly publications, she is a frequent contributor to policy outlets, including New York Times, Foreign Affairs, CFR, Cipher Brief, Wired, Lawfare, War on the Rocks, Washington Post, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, National Interest, H-Diplo, and the Center for a New American Security. She is an active member of the defense policy community with previous positions with the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, the Center for a New American Security, and the RAND Corporation. Before beginning her academic career, she spent six years as an Air Force officer in South Korea and Japan and is currently a reservist. She has a BA from Columbia University, MA from Arizona State University, and PhD from George Washington University.

    The NPWG works in partnership with the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium, a multi-institution initiative established by the National Nuclear Security Administration to train the next generation of nuclear security experts while engaging in research and development in support of the nation’s nonproliferation mission.  For more information on the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium, click here!

    If you're interested in joining NPWG, please fill out the interest form to be added to the mailing list!  If you have any questions or would like to learn more, send an email to, I'd be happy to talk!

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