The challenge is to consistently and patiently engage complexity.

The Nature of Today’s Security Class

The Nature of Today’s Security Class


I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Virginia Tech. I am also an affiliated faculty member of the Hume Center for National Security and Technology and the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought and and a member of the Information, Trust and Society Initiative at Virginia Tech. In addition to my roles at Virginia Tech, I am a cyber policy fellow and senior research scientist for the U.S. Army Cyber Institute at West Point.

Cyberspace is complex and requires a multidisciplinary focus. Together with my colleagues in Virginia Tech’s Integrated Security Destination Area, Integrated Security Education Research Center, The Army Cyber Institute and the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy, we pick apart complex problems and try and provide policy and technically feasible solutions to the State of Virginia, The United States Army Army and the Nation. As a member of these teams, I specifically engage problems through the disciplines of Political Science (International Relations and Comparative Politics) and Computer Science. I focus on issues related to cyber conflict, deterrence, parallel computing, human rights, big data, artificial intelligence, terrorism, encryption and more.

The Decision to Attack: Military and Intelligence Cyber Decision-Making

The debate over cyber technology has resulted in new considerations for national security operations. States find themselves in an increasingly interconnected world with a diverse threat spectrum and little understanding of how decisions are made within this amorphous domain.

With The Decision to Attack, Aaron Franklin Brantly investigates how states decide to employ cyber in military and intelligence operations against other states and how rational those decisions are. In his examination, Brantly contextualizes broader cyber decision-making processes into a systematic expected utility–rational choice approach to provide a mathematical understanding of the use of cyber weapons at the state level.

US National Cybersecurity: International Politics, Concepts and Organization

This volume explores the contemporary challenges to US national cybersecurity.

Taking stock of the field, it features contributions by leading experts working at the intersection between academia and government and offers a unique overview of some of the latest debates about national cybersecurity. These contributions showcase the diversity of approaches and issues shaping contemporary understandings of cybersecurity in the West, such as deterrence and governance, cyber intelligence and big data, international cooperation, and public–private collaboration. The volume’s main contribution lies in its effort to settle the field around three main themes exploring the international politics, concepts, and organization of contemporary cybersecurity from a US perspective. Related to these themes, this volume pinpoints three pressing challenges US decision makers and their allies currently face as they attempt to govern cyberspace: maintaining international order, solving conceptual puzzles to harness the modern information environment, and coordinating the efforts of diverse partners.

The volume will be of much interest to students of cybersecurity, defense studies, strategic studies, security studies, and IR in general.

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