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"Leadership and Responsibility for Cybersecurity"

"Leadership and Responsibility for Cybersecurity"

International Engagement on Cyber: 2012

Journal Article, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Special Issue, pages 71-80


Author: Melissa Hathaway, Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Project

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Explorations in Cyber International Relations; Cyber Security Project; Science, Technology, and Public Policy



This article appears in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs' Special Issue on International Engagement on Cyber: 2012. For more information, to view the table of contents, and to download the Introduction, please visit:


According to Darwin, "it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself."1 We have certainly adapted to the Internet and the technology that underpins it. In fact, we have made it an integral part of just about everything in our life; and in many ways we take it for granted that it will always work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. There are approximately 2.5 billion Internet users around the world of which nearly half are below the age of twenty-five.2 Yet, there is another set of actors that have adapted more successfully: criminals, spies, and some clever guys. Media headlines announce daily that our bank accounts are being robbed, our intellectual property is being illegally copied, and our critical infrastructures are penetrated and could stop working at any moment. The very fabric that contributes to nearly 40 percent of the productivity growth of the global economy also facilitates an equally robust underground economy.3

These messages appear to fall on deaf ears as our corporate and political leaders continue to talk about the troubled environment, yet too few are adapting to or assuming the responsibility for resolving it. Instead, our leaders appear to be paralyzed by the prolonged economic recovery and are in denial of the security needs of our infrastructures and enterprises. Why? Because of the difficulty in balancing parallel demands: economic recovery and growth vis-à-vis national security and infrastructure protection. This tension is further exacerbated by the competition for resources, lagging policy implementation, and an ill-defined technology roadmap to address security shortfalls as we adopt and embed the next-generation technology into our infrastructures and enterprises....

The entire article may be downloaded below.


1 Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (London: John Murray, 1859).

2 International Telecommunications Union, "The World in 2011: ICT Facts and Figures," Internet,

3 Jesus Rodriguez and Diego Martinez, "The Role of ICT in the Economic Growth and Productivity of Andalucia," European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (2007): 11, Internet, .


For more information about this publication please contact the STPP Web Manager at 617-496-1981.

For Academic Citation:

Hathaway, Melissa E. "Leadership and Responsibility for Cybersecurity." Georgetown Journal of International Affairs Special Issue (2012): 71-80.

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