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Michael Sulmeyer

Mailing address

One Brattle Square Suite 470, Room 482
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Michael Sulmeyer

Director, Cyber Security Project

Telephone: 617-495-1343



Dr. Michael Sulmeyer is the Belfer Center's Cyber Security Project director†at the Harvard Kennedy School. He recently concluded several years in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, serving most recently as the†Director†for Plans and Operations for Cyber Policy.† He was also Senior Policy Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy. In these jobs, he worked closely with the Joint Staff and Cyber Command on a variety of efforts to counter malicious cyber activity against U.S. and DoD interests. Previously, he worked on arms control and the maintenance of strategic stability between the United States, Russia, and China.

As a Marshall Scholar, Sulmeyer received his doctorate in Politics from Oxford University, and his dissertation, "Money for Nothing: Understanding the Termination of U.S. Major Defense Acquisition Programs," won the Sir Walter Bagehot Prize for best dissertation in government and public administration. He received his B.A. and J.D. from Stanford University and his M.A. in War Studies from King's College London. He is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations.



By Date



October 2016

"Hacking Chads: The Motivations, Threats, and Effects of Electoral Insecurity"


By Ben Buchanan, Postdoctoral Fellow, Cyber Security Project and Michael Sulmeyer, Director, Cyber Security Project

This paper addresses a growing concern to one of the most fundamental components of our democracy: how cybersecurity risks can influence the integrity of our elections.




May 27, 2016

"Indicting Hackers and Known Vulnerabilities"

Op-Ed, Lawfare

By Michael Sulmeyer, Director, Cyber Security Project and Kate Miller, Former Research and Project Assistant, Cyber Security Project

In March, the Justice Department unsealed an indictment against seven Iranians for hacking the U.S. financial sector and a dam in New York. In doing so, it also clarified what information security officials have argued for years: that the vast majority of hacks exploit known vulnerabilities.



Spring 2016

"Sulmeyer Heads Centerís New Cyber Security Project"

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Michael Sulmeyer, Director, Cyber Security Project

Michael Sulmeyer, former director for Plans and Operations for Cyber Policy at the Department of Defense, has joined the Belfer Center as director of its new Cyber Security Project. The cyber project, created by a $15 mil≠lion gift from Center namesake Robert Belfer and his family, aims to build a conceptual arsenal to address the ways conflict may be waged and avoided in cyberspace.



Spring 2016

"Protecting the U.S. in Cyberspace"

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Michael Sulmeyer, Director, Cyber Security Project

The computers, networks, and systems of cyberspace have become an integral part of daily life. They control critical infrastructure, ease and speed communication, enable financial transactions, and much more. However, the same aspects of connectivity that allow us to innovate also put us at risk.



Creative Commons

March 22, 2016

Balancing Cyber Security

Media Feature

By Michael Sulmeyer, Director, Cyber Security Project

Michael Sulmeyer, director of the Belfer Center's Cyber Security Project, discusses the U.S. government's efforts to defend against cyber threats in the context of the legal battle between the FBI and Apple over its encryption methods.



(AP Photo)

February 26, 2016

"Simplifying Cybersecurity"

Op-Ed, The Hill

By Michael Sulmeyer, Director, Cyber Security Project and Peter Roady

While there are undoubtedly aspects of the cybersecurity problem that demand complex technological solutions, we submit that the two most beneficial recommendations they can make are more straightforward. The first is to do everything possible to eliminate the vulnerabilities on which attackers depend. The second is to treat cybersecurity principally as a management problem rather than as a technology problem.

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.