The role of the military defending cyber operations against critical infrastructure - Rhiannon Neilsen and Karine Pontbriand


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In this episode, Dr Simon McKenzie talks with Rhiannon Neilsen and Karine Pontbriand on the role of militaries in defending against cyber operations. They argue that the vulnerability of critical infrastructure of many States to cyber operations - particularly due to privatisation - means that militaries need to step up their contribution to cyber defence. They talk about why NATO militaries are reluctant to do this, the basis for this position, and why it is problematic.
Rhiannon Neilsen is a Scientia PhD Candidate at the University of New South Wales. Her research interests include atrocity prevention, moral and political philosophy, cyberspace, and the Responsibility to Protect. In 2019, she was awarded the Barbara Hale Fellowship by the Australian Federation of Graduate Women to be a visiting doctoral student at the University of Oxford. Rhiannon has also been a visiting scholar at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (2019). Her published work has appeared in international journals, such as Ethics and International Affairs (2020), Terrorism and Political Violence (2019), and Genocide Studies and Prevention (2015).

Karine Pontbriand is a PhD Candidate in International Relations and Cyber Security at UNSW Canberra, and is a member of the Research Group on Cyber War and Peace. She is also a research fellow at the Research Group on Cyber Diplomacy and Cyber Security at the Montreal Institute of International Studies (IEIM). Before starting her doctoral studies, she worked as a policy analyst for Global Affairs Canada where she was focusing on the use of digital technology to advance Canada's foreign policy priorities. She has an undergraduate degree in International Relations and International Law and a master’s degree in International and Intercultural Communication (with Distinction, Highest Grade). Her main research interests are international cyber security, cyber diplomacy and cyber war and US-China cyber relations.

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