An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Explorations in Cyber International Relations

PI: Nazli Choucri, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Explorations in Cyber International Relations

Principal Investigator: Nazli Choucri, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Co-Investigators: Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Harvard University

Years of Award: 2009-2014

Managing Service Agency: Office of Naval Research

Project Description:
In international relations, the traditional approaches to theory and research, practice, and policy were derived from experiences in the 19th and 20th centuries. But cyberspace, shaped by human ingenuity, is a venue for social interaction, an environment for social communication, and an enabler of new mechanisms for power and leverage. Cyberspace creates new conditions—problems and opportunities—for which there are no clear precedents in human history. Already we recognize new patterns of conflict and contention, and concepts such as cyberwar, cybersecurity, and cyberattack are in circulation, buttressed by considerable evidence of cyber espionage and cybercrime.

Research Challenge

The research problem is this: distinct features of cyberspace—such as time, scope, space, permeation, ubiquity, participation and attribution—challenge traditional modes of inquiry in international relations and limit their utility. The interdisciplinary MIT-Harvard ECIR research project explores various facets of cyber international relations, including its implications for power and politics, conflict and war. 

Our primary mission and principal goal is to increase the capacity of the nation to address the policy challenges of the cyber domain. Our research is intended to influence today’s policy makers with the best thinking about issues and opportunities, and to train tomorrow’s policy makers to be effective in understanding choice and consequence in cyber matters.

Accordingly, the  ECIR vision is to create an integrated knowledge domain of international relations in the cyber age, that is (a) multidisciplinary, theory-driven, technically and empirically; (b) clarifies threats and opportunities in cyberspace for national security, welfare, and influence;(c) provides analytical tools for understanding and managing transformation and change; and (d) attracts and educates generations of researchers, scholars, and analysts for international relations in the new cyber age.

Click here to view the Final Report of the MIT – Harvard University Project on Explorations in Cyber International Relations.

Click here to view the Explorations in Cyber International Relations (ECIR) repository of articles, books, reports, and more for this project. 

Select Publications:
Click here to view publications, reports, theses, and addendum to the ECIR final report.