Belfer Center Home > People > Melissa Hathaway

« Back to publication

Melissa Hathaway

Mailing address

Not in Residence

Melissa Hathaway

Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project




Melissa Hathaway joined Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs as a senior advisor to its cybersecurity initiatives in 2009. She is participating and contributing to the joint MIT–Harvard Project on Technology, Security, and Conflict in the Cyber Age (Project Minerva). The primary objective of this project is to generate theoretical, policy, and strategy frameworks to assess threats and identify opportunities in cyberspace for national security, welfare, and influence for international relations in the 21st Century.  She is contributing to the interdisciplinary research program by developing methods to measure, model, interpret, and analyze challenges and responses in cyberspace.  More recently, Hathaway has been contributing to cybersecurity research initiatives at both the Belfer Center and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

Hathaway is also one of the lead instructors for Harvard's executive program, Cybersecurity: The Intersection of Policy and Technology.  Hathaway frequently guest lectures at universities in the Boston area as well as universities overseas. A list of  her recent publications is set forth below.

Hathaway served in two U.S. presidential administrations, spearheading the Cyberspace Policy Review for President Barack Obama and leading the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) for President George W. Bush. She built a broad coalition from within the executive branch and established an unprecedented partnership with Congress to obtain bipartisan support for addressing cybersecurity priorities. 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. Hathaway stood-up the Cybersecurity Office within the National Security Staff and set the expectation and pace to move the United States toward a stronger more resilient information and communications infrastructure.  At the conclusion of her government service she received the National Intelligence Reform Medal and the National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation Medal in recognition of her achievements.

After her government service, Hathaway established Hathaway Global Strategies, LLC. She is a leading expert in cyberspace policy and cybersecurity and brings a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional perspective to strategic consulting and strategy formulation for public and private sector clients. Having served on the board of directors for two public companies and three non-profit organizations, and as a strategic advisor to a number of public and private companies, Hathaway brings her clients a unique combination of policy and technical expertise, as well as board room experience that allows her to help clients better understand the intersection of government policy, developing technological and industry trends, and economic drivers that impact acquisition and business development strategy in this field.

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, 2016

"What Trump Can Do About Cybersecurity"

Op-Ed, Bloomberg

By Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project

"Manufacturers, retailers and others selling services and products with embedded digital technology must be held legally accountable for the security flaws of their wares....A better approach is an Internet Underwriters Laboratory, akin to the product-testing and certification system used for electrical appliances. Such a system could help ensure that internet-connected devices meet a minimum level of security before they're released into the marketplace."



October 19, 2016

"CYBERSEC 2016: Interview with Melissa Hathaway"

Media Feature

By Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project

Melissa Hathaway participated in the European Security Forum's Cyber Security Conference 2016 in Krakow Poland. This conference is one of just a few regular public policy conferences devoted to the strategic issues of cyberspace and cybersecurity in Europe. She presented key elements of the Cyber Readiness Index 2.0 and discussed areas for better private-public cooperation.



May 5, 2016

"Action Line C5 (Building Confidence and Security in the Use of ICTs) – National Cybersecurity Strategies for Sustainable Development"

Media Feature

By Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project

"...[W]hen I think about what it takes for a national cybersecurity strategy and the future of sustainable development, it is not just the digital agenda; it is an overall balanced agenda that has security components, and security and resilience at its core."



March 2016

"Sustainable and Secure Development: A Framework for Resilient Connected Societies"

Report Chapter

By Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project and Francesca Spidalieri

Internet penetration and the wider adoption of information communications technologies (ICTs) are reshaping many aspects of the world's economies, governments, and societies. Everything from the way goods and services are produced, distributed, and consumed, to how governments deliver services and disseminate information, to how businesses, and citizens interact and participate in the social contract are affected. The opportunities associated with becoming connected and participating in the Internet economy and the potential economic impact cannot be ignored.



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.

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.