WASHINGTON (December 15, 2020) –– The R Street Institute has released a “Making Space in Cybersecurity” pledge in partnership with more than twenty think tanks, universities, foundations, corporate partners, and individuals in an effort to increase the diversity of speakers and experts in the cybersecurity space at events that are hosted or funded by these organizations. Moving forward, this group publicly dedicates itself to hosting or supporting panels that represent the wide diversity of scholars and experts in the cybersecurity space––individuals who do not often receive enough public recognition for their work and its impact.

With history as background, we, the undersigned, pledge that we will increase the diversity of speakers and experts at events within and/or funded by our programs and organizations. For panels consisting of 3 or more speakers, inclusive of moderators, we pledge to recruit and include at least one woman or member of an underrepresented community (e.g. LGTBQIA, BIPOC, LatinX, Hispanic, people with disabilities) to add value to our learning and viewpoints that are not adequately represented within the cybersecurity field.

The groups that signed onto this letter include:

  1. American University Washington College of Law, Tech Law & Security Program
  2. The Aspen Institute Aspen Digital Program
  3. Atlantic Council Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security
  4. Auburn University McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security
  5. UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity
  6. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Cyber Policy Initiative
  7. Carnegie Mellon University Institute for Politics and Strategy (IPS)
  8. Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs
  9. Craig Newmark Philanthropies
  10. Cybereason
  11. Global Cyber Alliance
  12. Cyber Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center
  13. Hewlett Foundation Cyber Initiative
  14. ICS Village
  15. The Institute for Security and Technology
  16. Lawfare
  17. R Street Institute, Cybersecurity & Emerging Threats
  18. Rapid7
  19. Stanford University Cyber Policy Center
  20. TechCongress
  21. Third Way
  22. Tufts University Cyber Security and Policy Program

The individuals that have signed onto this letter include:

  1. Ben Buchanan, Director of Cybersecurity and AI project at Georgetown University Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET)
  2. Suzanne E. Spaulding, Senior Advisor of Homeland Security and Director of the Defending Democratic Institutions project at International Security Program (ISP), Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  3. Camille Stewart, Co-founder of #sharethemicincyber
  4. Lauren Zabierek, Co-founder of #sharethemicincyber, and Executive Director of the Cyber project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center
  5. Nina Kollars, Associate Professor, Naval War College

Suzanne E. Spaulding, a Senior Advisor for the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies says, “We are fortunate in the field of cybersecurity to have a deep and growing bench of experts who also happen to be women and/or persons of color. We cannot afford to keep them on the sidelines of our efforts to help the public and policymakers understand these issues, any more than we can afford not to have them in our workforce.”

“There is nothing inherent in cybersecurity that should prevent anyone, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, religion, or national origin from helping to secure the essential networks on which we all rely. We are stronger when we work together,” says Mieke Eoyang, Senior Vice President for the National Security Program and Chairperson of the Cyber Enforcement Initiative.

“Cybersecurity is a global problem that necessitates wide ranging dialogues with experts of all backgrounds, nationalities, and career paths,” explained Tatyana Bolton, R Street Managing Senior Fellow for Cybersecurity and Emerging Threats, who led the creation of the pledge. “In many ways, diversity is security. While this is a small step towards inclusion of underrepresented communities into the cybersecurity arena, we are acting now because diversity, equity, and inclusion are critical to the economic prosperity, well-being, and security of every American.”

“Ms. Bolton is right. Diversity is security. Cybersecurity must be treated as a basic human right, and to reach everyone everywhere, we need experts and advocates that speak to everyone. We also need intellectual-defense-in-depth, with diverse perspectives shared and strategies implemented. Diversity, equity and inclusion are not only the right thing to do, they are essential to addressing the cybersecurity problem,” added Philip Reitinger, Global Cyber Alliance President & CEO.

“Diversity brings a range of experience and new voices to the conversation to help us find and understand different viewpoints and solutions,” says Bryson Bort, the co-founder of ICS Village and a Senior Fellow at the R Street Institute.

“It’s critical that when we bring people together to listen, talk, share ideas, and discuss problems that those gatherings reflect diversity in all its forms,” says Vivian Schiller, the executive director of Aspen Digital, The Aspen Institute’s media and technology program. “Too many of the problems stemming from modern technology—from toxic social media to biased algorithms—stem from the fact that the technologies emerged from homogeneous groups. Building a more just and equitable internet, country, and world requires listening to more voices than have been traditionally included.”

Tim Maurer, Director of the Cyber Policy Initiative, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace concluded, “Diversity, equity, and inclusion….must be a priority and require sustained effort to build better teams, develop better policies, and give equal chances.”

The pledge is the beginning of a larger initiative from R Street focused on increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in the cybersecurity space.