About

The Center for Cyber and Homeland Security (CCHS) at the George Washington University is a nonpartisan “think and do” tank whose mission is to carry out policy-relevant research and analysis on homeland security, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity issues.  By convening domestic and international policymakers and practitioners at all levels of government, the private and non-profit sectors, and academia, CCHS develops innovative strategies to address and confront current and future threats.

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Commentary Series

How California’s Drought Exacerbates the Terrorism Threat

May 12, 2015

Terrorist organizations including ISIS, Hezbollah, and al‐Qa’ida have openly promulgated a strategy of ecological jihad. In contrast to other methods employed by terrorists, environmental tactics, such as contaminating water supplies or starting fires, can be quickly planned, require little technical expertise to execute, and have lower risk of detection. Water shortages due to drought increase vulnerability to these terror methods with significant consequences for people, infrastructure, and the economy.

Issue Brief Series

Risk-Based Security and the Aviation System: Operational Objectives and Policy Challenges

January 27, 2015

Risk-based security has been the primary strategic imperative for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for the past three and a half years, as a focused effort to move beyond a one-size

Putin’s Russia: A Geopolitical Analysis

November 21, 2014

The speed and audacity of Russia's annexation of Crimea earlier this year shook Eastern Europe and surprised the West. Yet the conflict in Ukraine is just one symptom of a much broader challenge, and one which the West has yet to recognize fully and respond to accordingly. Russian President Putin is much more of a revolutionary than people give him credit for being. In fact, however, he wants to reshape the world and reshuffle the international economic deck.

This Issue Brief examines events in Ukraine and beyond from a strategic perspective; and then offers a series of action recommendations intended to respond effectively to these geostrategic developments.

Raising The Bar On Cybersecurity and Acquisition

October 15, 2014

This Issue Brief explores the nexus of acquisition, components, and cybersecurity — first from the standpoint of potential vulnerabilities, and then from the perspective of remedying of them. The discussion begins in a DOD context, and subsequently expands to include critical infrastructure, and the Internet of Things. The report concludes with a series of action recommendations, targeted to different stakeholders in the defense realm, to bring the acquisition of components into alignment with a robust cybersecurity posture.

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Op-Eds & Commentaries

Cyber Deterrence Is a Strategic Imperative

April 28, 2015

From botnet takedowns to joint activities with law enforcement, there is a role to be played in cyber deterrence by nearly every public and private entity in the U.S., Guest Contributors Frank J.

Delays in confirming DHS management nominee put our security at risk

April 10, 2015

This past Sunday, 60 Minutes aired a segment examining the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that was generally positive about Secretary Jeh Johnson’s leadership of DHS, but also described the department as a “management nightmare.”

The Bear is Inside the Wire

April 09, 2015

Russian hackers, fresh from breaching the State Department's unclassified networks in recent months, have managed to sneak into “sensitive but unclassified” White House networks, CNN reported on April 7. The perpetrators gained access to real-time non-public details of the President’s schedule, precisely the type of information foreign intelligence services prioritize for collection.

Fortifying the Internet of Things means baking in security at the beginning

March 06, 2015

Protecting smart devices means building cybersecurity into the design process, from hardware to software. Making security a priority at the start, instead of coming up with patches later, is the key to ensuring the growing number of connected gadgets remain safe.

Obama’s cybersecurity initiative: a start but businesses – and individuals – need to do more

February 24, 2015

The linchpin of President Obama’s recently launched cybersecurity initiative is to encourage the private sector to share information to better defend against cyberattacks. Yet US companies have historically been wary of openly talking about their cybersecurity efforts with competitors and with government — for good reason.