MIIS Cyber Spotlight

Senior Fellow on Disaster Communications Brian Steckler

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MIIS Cyber is pleased to announce the addition of our new Senior Fellow on Disaster Communications Brian Steckler. Mr. Steckler is an academic and consultant with over 37 years of expertise in disaster relief communications. This includes 12 years managing interoperability communications at the government inter-agency level and another 7 years in the private sector as founder of Universal Internet – a wired/wireless Internet Service Provider (ISP and W-ISP). He completed a 20-year career in the U.S. Navy in 1995, which included 10 years as a cryptologic technician, serving in both officer and enlisted ranks.

Mission

As threats and potential for peace in cyberspace are transnational and multi-faceted, the MIIS Cyber Initiative (MIIS Cyber) seeks

“to provide an interdisciplinary, networked platform to assess the policy impact of the information age on  security, peace and communications in international affairs.”

Our strategy is to execute this mission is to:

1. employ a networked approach to create a public-private-academic community of interest;
2. provide fora for international, key-leader engagement;
3. increase research and education on cyberspace policy issues related to international affairs; and
4. coordinate and develop the Institute’s efforts related to information, communication and technology.

As the only civilian policy school of international affairs in Northern and Central California, MIIS is uniquely able to provide instruction and mentoring for the next-generation of policy leaders.

MIIS Cyber is the first effort worldwide to address the intersection of cyberspace policy issues with international affairs from a social-science perspective. This includes hard security, human security, economic/business issues, language and linguistics, social media, digital ethics and environmental issues.

Congruent with Middlebury’s known strength in language instruction and Monterey’s reputation as the language capital of the world, we remain on the cutting-edge when it related to language applications of cyber as well. By hosting our many events in fora with professional, specialized interpretation booths, we are unique in providing our translation and interpretation students with regular access to hone their language skills on cyberspace policy for practicum credit.

Housed in the Office of the Dean of the Institute and Vice President of Academic Affairs, we are the only academic program globally which employs a networked approach to address this nexus of cyberspace policy topics throughout the entire school. In addition, our director has been actively engaged in creating interdisciplinary, executive education on cyberspace policy issues on behalf of NATO since 2008 and launched a series at MIIS in 2014.

The Many Facets of Cyber Policy

The MIIS Cyber Initiative (MIIS Cyber) was formally launched as an Initiative of the Office of the President (now Dean of the Institute) on 1 May 2013, following two years of cyberspace policy round-table meetings,  workshops and speaker series with experts from academia as well as U.S. government and military.

It provides input and coordinates the Institute’s existing classes, grants and research efforts to address the policy relevance of technology in international affairs.  This includes hard security, human security/development, digital ethics, cross-cultural communication, social media, linguistics and language, economics/business, peace and stabilization efforts, environmental factors as well as other aspects. Though we do not predominantly provide highly technical approaches to cyberspace issues, we do partner with those who do in order to provide a balanced effort. 

Nearly 40 MIIS faculty and senior staff incorporate cyberspace issues into their coursework and research. A brief survey of their efforts highlights the complexity of cyberspace issues and how it is being addressed at MIIS. MIIS Cyber’s Director  and Senior Fellows provide unique, in-depth approaches to these topics. Resource centers such as the MIIS Digital Learning Center (DLC) assists the Institute’s community in the pursuit of academic excellence and digital media fluency while the Mixed-Methods Evaluation, Training and Analysis (META) Lab strives to create a learning environment in which students and faculty share in cutting-edge approaches to research and evaluation. The Globe Center (formerly L10n@MIIS) provides translation, localization, education, consulting and research in the rapidly expanding area of business globalization and localization. Additionally, the WIP (Women’s International Perspective) reports news, world opinion and commentary through the unique perspectives of women.

Creating a Network to Secure a Network

MIIS Cyber’s model is premised on the notion that building an international, interdisciplinary network amongst key cyberspace policy stakeholders provides a balanced voice on salient topics related to information. By partnering with multiple institutes locally, nationally and worldwide we aim to leverage the many strengths of various existing efforts to better address contemporary threats and understand potential opportunities for cooperation in cyberspace.

In addition, we host small, key-leader-engagement meetings on cutting-edge cyberspace policy topics in a Chatham House rules format to create a community of interest on various aspects of cyberspace policy. Examples are available on our Activities page.

Finally, MIIS Cyber maximizes its geographical location near Silicon Valley and in Monterey, CA which is home to U.S. military and civilian government to reflect the pulse of the local and national perspectives. Our international policy engagements in cyberspace as well as equal reach to all continents ensures we capture international voices on cyber policy issues as well. By doing so, we aim to inform policy makers from a bottom-up approach that can complement existing efforts. We have partnered with the Highlands Group to pave the way to fully developing a Highlands Forum model for academia.

Graduate Education in Cyberspace Policy

MIIS Cyber coordinates courses and executive education workshops that address the various aspects of the information age. For instance, MIIS Cyber Director Dr. Itamara Lochard offers  “Non-state Actors in a Digital World” which is cross-listed across our programs.  In addition, Dr. George Moore, M.
MIIS Cyber Senior Technical Fellow
 
and Senior Scientist in Residence at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) teaches “Nuclear Aspects of Cyber Security” 
and “Drones and Surveillance.” The Institute also provides courses and workshops in GIS, cyber elements of money laundering, open source intelligence, social network analysis, automated nuclear disarmament scenarios, among many others. Currently offered cyberspace-related courses for credit are available here. Moreover, the 
Digital Learning Commons
(DLC) focuses on providing digital media fluency to the Institute. Projects include 3-D maps,
MIIS Radio
, the Globe Center (formerly L10N@MIIS) and TEDxMonterey, among others.

In addition, MIIS Cyber hosts a speaker series of Silicon Valley and government leaders on cyberspace policy issues. We held 18 sessions during 2013-204 and 11 sessions during 2014-2015, primarily in rooms with professional interpretation booths so that students in MIIS Graduate School for Translation, Interpretation and Language Education (GSTILE) practicum course may sharpen their live interpretation skills with the ever-growing cyberspace policy and technical vocabulary. This serves our multi-disciplinary effort, pairs well with Middlebury’s excellence in language instruction and reflects notion of Monterey, CA being the language capital of the world. We are the only institution that provides a constant stream of cyber-related policy content for language students. 

Executive Education in Cyberspace Policy

MIIS Cyber is also actively involved in providing executive education on cyberspace policy issues. In summer 2014, MIIS Cyber Director, Dr. Lochard co-developed and co-instructed a three-week, “Cyberspace Policy and International Relations Executive Education” course with partners at the Cooperative Monitoring Center of Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. This initial foray into cyberspace policy executive education for SNL aims to use technology as a platform for cooperation among key countries. We also plan to host a “Language Applications of Cyberspace Workshop” with partners at Lingua Brava this academic year.

Internationally, we are helping create the academic curricula and coursework on cyberspace policy issues with partners in the Balkans at the Military Academy of Macedonia who are developing a program that will benefit all countries in the region. NATO has sponsored two efforts in 2013 and in 2014 to that effect. As Vermont is the partner state of Macedonia, this is a natural extension of Middlebury’s international footprint. Moreover, we participated in coordinating Balkan and Baltic countries on cyberspace policy issues at the Ministry of Defense level of Estonia and Macedonia in Spring 2014. We also were the only academic institution to provide cyber policy instruction to an international group of 170 cadets in Macedonia during a yearly Crisis Management field exercise. Other instructors on non-cyber policy issues included the Red Cross, militaries and the Marshall Center. We have also partnered with the Estonian Information Systems Authority (RIA) which addresses all information issues for their government.

In addition, Dr. Lochard continues to provide executive education, subject matter expertise and consulting to the NATO Center of Excellence Defense Against Terrorism (CoE-DAT) on the role of information  for the Alliance. These efforts are open to participants from NATO countries as well as those in the Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative as well others. She still teaches the course she created in 2008 at NATO CoE-DAT on “Terrorists’ Use of Cyberspace,” “Deterring Terrorists’ Use of Cyberspace” as well as those on ‘Strategic Communications” and “Organizational Structures of Groups.”

Research on Cyberspace Policy Issues

Along with  providing coursework and executive education, MIIS Cyber also provides guidance to the Institute on incorporating cyber aspects into relevant curricula, proposals and grants.

Our MIIS Cyber Senior Fellows provide salient and timely research on how technology touches areas relevant to the Institute’s approach to international affairs, in particular in role of humanitarian affairs, disaster relief, C4 (command, control, communications and computers), UAVs, as well as non-state actors (nefarious as well as NGOs, international organizations and corporations). We plan to launch an on-line publication series this year highlighting their work as well as others related to these issues.

Furthermore, MIIS Cyber Director Dr. Lochard is culminating a three-year project as chair of the “Understanding the Local Dynamics” panel of the NATO HUMINT Center of Excellence (HCOE) on behalf of NATO headquarters. This effort provides research to the Alliance on how to develop their cyberspace policy to address upcoming conflicts by incorporating various elements of technology with traditional analysis. The effort has yielded published books and working papers by NATO.

Cyberspace Policy Resources

Our website hosts several resources pages that are continuously updated to address the many facets of cyberspace.  Here you can find information on our events, news articles, scholarly publications, books, websites, cyber hygiene, terminology, cyber security policies of various states and key maps digitizing relevant information.

Our speaker series is open to the public otherwise noted. Many of our sessions are recorded and subsequently posted on the site. Finally, for our students, faculty, staff and partners we sponsor the MIIS Cyber Security Working Group which conducts workshops, co-hosts round-table discussions, co-organizes speaker series from the region and provides local field trips. If you are interested in joining our events list or in speaking, kindly send an email with your contact information to cyber [at] miis [dot] edu

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