Abstract

The academic community faces a significant hurdle when it comes to the study of nation-state cyber operations dynamics. For national security and commercial reasons, little to no cyber operations data are disclosed to the public. Without access to operational data, scientific contributions will remain inhibited and the academy will be underutilized in the study of this important strategic domain. We argue that researchers can begin to overcome this information gap by designing experiments that take place within simulation environments. Such approaches are beneficial in that they allow researchers to generate new data and increase the capacity to isolate causal effects. In this paper, we describe a simulation environment specifically designed to study cyber operations dynamics below the threshold of armed attack and illustrate how it can be leveraged to generate tests of research hypotheses. We also detail our pilot experiment which examines the escalatory dynamics of defend forward activities.


Author: Jelena Vićić



Highlights and Accomplishments:

  • Peer Reviewed Publications:
    • Hamman, Seth T., Vićić, Jelena, Mewhirter, Jack, White, Phillip, Harknett, Richard J. "Deciphering Cyber Operations: The Use of Experimental Methodology for Studying Military Strategic Concepts in Cyberspace." Cyber Defense Review, vol. 5, no.1, pp.135-150, 2020.
    • Fischerkeller, Michael, Harknett, Richard J., and Jelena Vićić. "The Limits of Deterrence and the Need for Persistence." In Cyber Deterrence Problem, Aaron Brantly, ed. (Rowman and Littlefeld, 2020).
  • Conference Presentations:
    • "Responsible Skepticism: Countering Information Warfare in the Digital Age," with Greg Winger and Alex Oliver. Panel presentation at Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) annual convention, April 2020, Chicago, Illinois.
    • "Responsible Skepticism: Countering Information Warfare in the Digital Age," with Greg Winger and Alex Oliver. Panel presentation at International Studies Association annual convention, March 2020, Honolulu, Hawaii.
    • "Deciphering Cyber Operations: The Use of Experimental Methods and Simulations for Studying Military Strategic Concepts in Cyberspace" presentation at Bridging the Gap: Workshop on Cyber Conflict at Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, November 2019, New York City, NY.
    • "Deciphering Cyber Operations: The Use of Experimental Methods and Simulations for Studying Military Strategic Concepts in Cyberspace" presentation at CyCon US 2020, November 2019, Washington, DC.
    • "Public vs. Private Actor Interests in Cyberspace: Security Dilemma for the New Age." Panel presentation with Gregory Winger, at the ISSS-ISA 2019 Annual Convention, October 2019, in Denver, Colorado.
    • "Competing Images of Liberal Internationalism." Panel presentation with Brendan Green at Central and Eastern European International Studies Association (CEEISA-ISA) Joint Conference, June 2019, Belgrade, Serbia.
  • Education:
    • OHIO CYBER RANGE INSTITUTE, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States (Summer 2020 – Summer 2021)
  • Predoctoral Fellowship (upcoming):
    • UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States (2020) - College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services - IT Graduate Certificate
  • Awards and Honors:
    • Taft Summer Fellowship Award (2020)
    • Graduate Student Excellence Award for Exemplary Service winner (2020)
    • Ohio Cyber Range Institute, Predoctoral Fellowship (2020-2021)
    • Taft Graduate Enhancement Award (2019-2020)
    • Neff Fellowship, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Cincinnati (2019-2020)
    • Taft Dissertation Fellowship, Taft Research Center, University of Cincinnati (2019-2020) (declined)
    • College of Arts and Sciences IT Summer Training Scholarship (2019)
  • Professional Development:
    • Preparing Future Faculty Program Member
    • CASOS 2020 Summer Training in Semantic Network Analysis
    • Protect Ohio 2020 Research Assistant
    • ICPSR 2019 Summer Training in Social Networks Analysis and Causal Inference
  • Service to Department, University, or Community:
    • Presidential Medal of Graduate Student Excellence (PMGSE) Committee Chair for AY 2019/2020
    • Graduate School Decanal Search Committee member AY 2019/2020