Cybersecurity Forum Brings Policy and Business Thought Leaders to GW

April 25 event to address the significant issues related to cybersecurity and its profound implications for national security and global business, markets and regulation.

March 16, 2023

Cybersecurity graphic

(Graphic by John McGlasson)

The GW Business & Policy Forum: Attacking Cybersecurity Risks on April 25 will bring policymakers, industry leaders and academia together on a national stage to examine emerging cybersecurity threats affecting national security and global business, market and regulation.

The conversation is a campus-wide effort that will explore ways the government and industry can partner to advance cybersecurity and resilience in the face of malicious attacks.

Because of its research and academic programming in cybersecurity, GW is strongly positioned to convene the forum, which is the result of a collaboration among the GW School of Business (GW Business), the College of Professional Studies (CPS), GW Law and the School of Engineering and Applied Science (GW Engineering).

“The idea is to have an impactful conversation at GW on the very important issue of cybersecurity,” said GW Business Dean Anuj Mehrotra. “I think it is a very timely forum, and it clearly is the right place for the conversation between industry and policy. Not only do we have the benefit of all the policymakers in Washington, D.C., but we also have a strong and growing technology presence in the national capital area.”

The event leverages the university’s proximity to government officials, regulators, policymakers, national security agencies and one of the fastest-growing tech talent pools in the country. Deloitte, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Northrup Grumman and Verizon are among the companies participating. The Department of Defense is also taking part in the forum as is former Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael K. Atkinson.

The New York Times National Security Correspondent David Sanger will serve as a moderator.

The forum leverages the university’s standing as a comprehensive institution of higher education offering programs at the intersection of technology and policy. The four schools most actively involved in the event are at the vanguard of cybersecurity education and national security law.

“Creating a secure cyber environment requires a holistic, interdisciplinary approach,” CPS Dean Liesl Riddle said. “Recognizing this, GW has developed an array of academic programs across the university to meet the full breadth of employer needs in cybersecurity. This is why GW is the perfect place for cross-sector conversations about ways to holistically address complex and ever-evolving cybersecurity threats.”

GW also holds a pivotal role in the D.C. Penn West Equity and Innovation District, which is working to unite digital technology with public policy, equity and social impact in four key sectors: health, government, education and finance. The innovation district harnesses the power of federal government agencies and the White House as well as researchers, startups, accelerators and large companies that are advancing tech solutions aimed at changing the world.

For over a decade, CPS’s Cybersecurity Academy has offered workforce development, bachelor completion, masters and executive education programs in cybersecurity to examine risk, policy, practice and intelligence-led cyber defense issues to create the next generation of cybersecurity’s strategic leaders. These programs have been developed in close consultation with key government, military and law enforcement organizations, and program courses are led by thought leaders and practitioners in the cybersecurity field. CPS’s Cybersecurity Academy is headquartered in GW’s Virginia Science and Technology campus in Ashburn, Virginia, and an extension is planned to bring its operations to the Penn West Equity and Innovation District in DC.

In addition, GW Law has an excellent reputation in national security law, recently deepening that strength with its pioneering Master of Studies in Law (MSL) in National Security and Cybersecurity Law and a joint MSL in Government Procurement and Cybersecurity Law. GW Law faculty include scholars and practitioners who have helped shaped national security law. 

"Cybersecurity law is one of the fastest developing and vital fields of law in the United States and internationally,” said GW Law Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew. “Regulators are racing to keep up with the legal issues that surround hacking, data breaches, cyber attacks and threats to individual and corporate private data. The law that is emerging in cybersecurity represents one of the most pressing challenges of our time.

“GW Law offers strong programs in cybersecurity law taught by leading experts in the field. By pursuing a JD concentration in cybersecurity or enrolling in our new LLM or MSL programs in national security and cybersecurity, our students gain valuable expertise in this critical field." 

CPS has designed curriculum in consultation with key government, military and law enforcement organizations. Its cybersecurity bachelor’s and cybersecurity strategy and information management master’s programs are designed for working professionals to examine risk, policy, practice and intelligence-led cyber defense issues to create the next generation of cybersecurity’s strategic leaders.

GW Engineering faculty are leading research efforts around the science of cybersecurity and privacy, ranging from usable security in human-centered systems to privacy in data-driven systems to safety in cyber-physical systems. The school offers both undergraduate and graduate course work and programs that helps students develop the skills they need to be leaders in the cybersecurity domain. Through the GW Engineering led CyberSecurity and Privacy and Research Institute (CSPRI), GW is launching a Cyber@GW initiative to work with government and private organizations to study the impact of rapid technological change on business, government, and the infrastructure security issues caused by the convergence of data and organizations in a networked world.

“I am excited to showcase the innovative educational programs and impactful research projects GW faculty are leading in cybersecurity solutions, strategies, and policies,” said GW Engineering Dean John Lach. “Working in the nation's capital at the intersection of cryptography, privacy, human factors, policy, and international affairs, we are uniquely positioned to tackle cybersecurity challenges for individuals, DC, the nation, and the world.”

Mehrotra said that this forum will further highlight the growing strengths in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) across GW schools and colleges and inform the university’s research and programs in cybersecurity and related areas of artificial intelligence and quantum computing. In 2020, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate selected GW Business to lead a new Center of Excellence to deliver an M.B.A. in security technology transition. It is the country’s only Center of Excellence to offer such a program. 

“D.C. is where decisions and policies are being made and where you’ll find world institutions that are all concerned about cybersecurity,” Mehrotra said. “One of our goals is to identify cutting-edge issues in cybersecurity and generate a white paper to inform corporations and research, including our students’ research.”

GW Business Board of Advisors Chair Mitch Blaser, B.B.A. ’73, leads the subcommittee that planned the cross-disciplinary forum. Event sponsors include Verizon, Business Management Associates, Cushman & Wakefield, Globant, KPMG, Guidehouse and Strategic Investment Group.

Registration for participants, guests and alumni, as well as faculty and staff, are now open through April 25. Sessions from the on-campus forum will be live streamed for the public.