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Melissa Hathaway

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Melissa Hathaway

Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project




Melissa Hathaway, former acting senior director for cyberspace at the National Security Council, has joined Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs as a senior advisor to its cyber security initiative, Project Minerva, a joint effort between the Department of Defense, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University. The project explores a wide range of the issues within cyber security from the contexts of international relations theory and practice.

Hathaway worked on cyber security for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama until August 2009, when she left to establish Hathaway Global Strategies, LLC. She led President Obama's 60-Day Cyberspace Policy Review from February-May 2009. During her time directing the Cyberspace Policy Review at the White House, she assembled a team of experienced government cyber experts and inventoried relevant presidential policy directives, executive orders, national strategies and studies from government advisory boards and private sector entities. Her outreach resulted in more than 100 papers that informed the recommendations. She produced a comprehensive report that contained multiple annexes and 25 near-term and mid-term recommendations. After reviewing this report, President Obama announced in May that cyber security is one of his administration's priorities.

While serving as acting senior director for cyber security at the National Security Council, Hathaway convened the policy meetings that began work against each of the top ten recommendations contained in the Cyberspace Policy Review and set the expectation and pace to move the United States toward a stronger, more resilient information and communications infrastructure.

Prior to her appointment in February 2009, Hathaway served as cyber coordination executive and director of the Joint Interagency Cyber Task Force within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from March 2007 to February 2009. There, she built a broad coalition from within the Executive branch under Presidents Bush and Obama, developing a cyber security strategy covering unprecedented scope and scale that now facilitates improvements for the United States to secure and defend its critical national infrastructures. She developed and created a unified cross-agency budget submission for FY 2008 and for 2009–2013, assembling disparate funding sources into a coherent, integrated program. One of the single largest intelligence programs of the Bush administration, the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, has been carried forward by the Obama administration.

Hathaway has a B.A. degree from The American University in Washington, D.C. She has completed graduate studies in international economics and technology transfer policy and is a graduate of the U.S. Armed Forces Staff College, with a special certificate in Information Operations.



By Date



November 30, 2015

"Cyber Readiness Index 2.0"


By Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project, Chris Demchak, Jason Kerben, Jennifer McArdle and Francesca Spidalieri

"Building on CRI 1.0, Cyber Readiness Index 2.0 examines one hundred twenty-five countries that have embraced, or are starting to embrace, ICT and the Internet and then applies an objective methodology to evaluate each country's maturity and commitment to cyber security across seven essential elements."



October 2015

"Introduction: International Engagement on Cyber V: Securing Critical Infrastructure"

Journal Article, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, International Engagement on Cyber V: Securing Critical Infrastructure

By Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project

In this issue of International Engagement on Cyber, authors discuss developments, challenges, and improvements to critical infrastructure cybersecurity from legal, policy, and technical perspectives. Cyber V also evaluates cybersecurity in Brazil, suggests improved government and private sector cybersecurity practices, and theorizes military actions in the information age.



November 2014

"Connected Choices: How the Internet Is Challenging Sovereign Decisions"

Journal Article, American Foreign Policy Interests, issue 5, volume 36

By Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project

"Modern societies are in the middle of a strategic, multidimensional competition for money, power, and control over all aspects of the Internet and the Internet economy. This article discusses the increasing pace of discord and the competing interests that are unfolding in the current debate concerning the control and governance of the Internet and its infrastructure."



October 10, 2014

"Translating Cyber-risks into Business Terms"

Report Chapter

By Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project

"Cybersecurity is a major concern at companies of all sizes and has a measureable impact on many facets of operations, and certainly profitability. Yet the scale of that impact is often obscured or lost in translation. Unless directors can cut through the technical jargon in what are often massive amounts of information they receive, the size of the risk and the steps to mitigate it may not be clear. Instead, Hathaway says, the risks need to be translated into a language most directors know well: dollars and cents."



Wikimedia CC

July 25, 2014

"Taking Control of Our Cyber Future"

Journal Article, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs

By Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project and John Stewart

In our current state of cybersecurity, breach, crime, disruption, and destruction are growing in unacceptable ways. Key indicators suggest that we are not making enough progress and in fact, are possibly going backwards. This paper proposed four actions to start taking right now.



June 11, 2014

Cybersecurity: Are You Winning or Losing?

Media Feature

By Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project

Melissa Hathaway gave an overview of the latest developments in cybersecurity from a US and then global perspective—and discussed what is at stake for companies and nations at a Centre for International Governance Innovation Policy Forum.



February 2014

"Advanced Research Workshop Findings"

Book Chapter

By Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project

This chapter informs NATO cyber defense policy and presents operators and decision-makers with genuine tools and expert advice for computer network defense, incident detection, and incident response.



February 2014

Best Practices in Computer Network Defense: Incident Detection and Response


By Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project

The cyber security of vital infrastructure and services has become a major concern for countries worldwide. The members of NATO are no exception, and they share a responsibility to help the global community to strengthen its cyber defenses against malicious cyber activity. This book presents 10 papers and 21 specific findings from the NATO Advanced Research Workshop (ARW) "Best Practices in Computer Network Defense (CND): Incident Detection and Response", held in Geneva, Switzerland, in September 2013.



Cisco Photo

November 8, 2013

"Cyber Readiness Index 1.0"


By Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project

The Cyber Readiness Index (CRI) examines thirty-five countries that have embraced ICT and the Internet and compares their maturity and commitment to protecting those investments using an initial objective assessment of where countries stand in cyber security in five areas.



May 14, 2013

"Change the Conversation, Change the Venue and Change Our Future"


By Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project

"The G20 has an opportunity to articulate a vision for shaping the Internet economy for the next five to 10 years. The power of the leadership of this body, combined with its ability to assemble and speak to a simple, positive narrative for cybersecurity anchored in our collective economic well-being (and GDP growth), could be a watershed event. The GDP erosion that all nations are suffering places cybersecurity within the legitimate processes and 'architecture' of international economic governance. By changing the conversation to being about the economy and growth, this approach would enable the G20 to de-escalate the militarization and balkanization of the Internet."

Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.