A highlight from 208 Bringing Tools of National Power to Fight Ransomware

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I have really led a very circuitous passed over the years i. I began my my career many many years ago. Now as someone who was fundamentally focused on questions surrounding human behavior in wyatt is that that people do the things that they do to include engaging in things like warfare. I've been everything under the sun have been a schoolteacher Have been a chef I've been a gardener But i found myself sitting raytheon company as a as a research assistant supporting engineers in the space and airborne systems unit in really needed to to get into the fray in so i moved to washington. Dc went to johns hopkins. Seis got a job. Eventually in the of the secretary of defense for policy in the pentagon and was focusing primarily on regional issues south asia in particular where that was responsible for helping. Make sure that nuclear weapons didn't fall into the hands of terrorists Tackling everything under the sun that you can think of was to convert over to the white house where i was able to work had the amazing opportunity where for president obama for four years on the national security council staff and my final role. I was the senior director for south asia. Where i had responsibility from ever for everything in our relationships with folks in the region primarily india and had set up a cyber security dialogue with them with working with them on nuclear energy policy climate. Change you name it head. So have since achieved escape. Velocity him back out here in california. got out of washington and Have been back here in california building institute for security technology over the last few years. Well can you tell us about the. Is t what is what is the organization's Mission so the mission really at its core is to reimagine the think tank and provide trusted venues for technologists so people who are actually building things and deploying them providing venues for those folks to be able to engage with national security policy makers and what we have found and i think we all live this everyday is that at one time policy really is what drove technological development and that is very much been flipped on its head where is driving policy across a range of public policy challenges right whether it's education health care you name it but in the security space. It's so stark. And what we've discovered there really aren't the venues where people can get together and have no full throated debate in have arguments where it's a trusted space where they can actually put ideas on the table. And so we've been building an institute with the core mission of trying to to cross level playing field. How do you come out that problem. I mean we look at I think certainly the the current situation here in the states is one that is very divided. it's hard to have a conversation about anything and yet these are serious issues that you all are taking on so what we have what we've found. I mean we're we're a five. Oh one c. three so we're nonprofit. We don't have anything driving us except for quite honestly altruistic intent and where we're a mix of folks who are entrepreneurs and ceos folks who've built in sold companies but also folks who have worked in the national security establishment served at the pentagon and at the white house. My board chairs of former air force officer We know both sides of the coin and we come at this really as strongly as we possibly can. Has bipartisan bicameral as possible because our our stance if you will is that we can't solve these solutions if if folks remain in their stovepipes and so we come into pretty neutral and in doing so. I think we're able to bring more people to the table. How do you bring your message to the international stage. When when we certainly we have our allies but also our adversaries one Challenges here is is being able to state the case any yet continue a conversation. I think the you know the skills that. I was able to cultivate when i was working at the white house for president obama to be able for instance to to sit down with our with our pakistan counterparts. And two very bluntly say. I'm interested in supporting your activities at your efforts to counter terrorism to go after al-qaeda to go go after those who are targeting your state but you need to stop harboring insurgents who are destabilizing. The government in kabul and so there are means through which you can engage with international counterparts. Who may be adversarial in some ways. But who i think have a vested interest in getting ahead of these similar challenges. They're they're they're not safe from cybercrime. They're not safe from these sorts of online threats. I think they have a vested interest in directing them elsewhere. But i think they also have a direct a vested interest in maintaining their ability to function within international structures to include financial systems. So there's means through which you can have pretty open honest conversations even with with adversaries but you have to have carrots and sticks brought into the equation. Where does the us sit right now in terms of being able to deliver that message to the rest of the world's are we do. We enjoy a position of being on a. I don't know for lack of a better word. A moral high ground when it comes to these issues. I think the the united states. It's got its its fair share of responsibilities in my opinion where we have such immense resources in such a men's technical capability in such a mets. Still today i am convinced of this. Such a men's value that we bring to a conversation that people want us there. They want us to help drive toward solutions. There are reasons why there are folks who are you. Know they have pause has to activities. Perhaps the united states government engages in there needs to be a level of transparency there To be able to have that kind of conversation. But i do think that the us is still uniquely positioned to be able to help lead some of these conversations in particularly looking at the ransomware discussion. I think there are others. Who are who are interested in partnering up with the us to to collaboratively get after that. That's what we heard through all of our discussions whether it's with the australians the dutch the the brits i think the canes the israelis the indians i think folks definitely could use someone who's willing to step forward and help lead such an international effort and i think the united states remains uniquely positioned to do so. Let's dig into some specifics together You and your team at the i. S t recently Put out Publication called combating ransomware A comprehensive framework for action key recommendations from the ransomware task force What prompted the creation of of this study so we found ourselves last fall watching and listening to all of our colleagues in the folks in the infosec community just scrambling as as this tidal wave of attacks was starting to hit the healthcare industry and as we are really seeing ransomware hitting every sector you know. You're done manufacturing logistics. Now you're seeing it hit hospitals in educational institutions and it struck us that you know with our experience having sat at the white house for example and seeing what needs in could be brought to bear on on a problem like this. The question was what. Why hasn't someone hold together. Everyone has a stake in this and figured out a more comprehensive approach in so we started reaching out to to friends and colleagues both in a in a nonprofit society sector but in industry but also in government and so we started talking to folks at

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