Alumni Spotlight

Threat of Cyber Warfare Explored by Expert Valeriano

​from The Rock, Fall 2013

Cyber warfare continues to be a hot topic in the news. As such, political scientist and cyber conflict expert Brandon Valeriano ’99 has been making the media rounds, sharing his views on the issue with notable appearances on MSNBC's "Up with Chris Hayes" and BBC radio.

Currently a senior lecturer in global security at the University of Glasgow, Valeriano has authored numerous articles and books on the topic of conflict, including Hollywood's Representations of the Sino-Tibetan Conflict: Politics, Culture, and Globalization, and a chapter, "Persistent Enemies and Cybersecurity: The Future Of Rivalry in an Age of Information Warfare," in the book Cyber Challenges and National Security, among others.

Now, with a working study on quantitative data related to cyber security issues, Valeriano feels confident that the threat of cyber-war has been somewhat exaggerated.

"We need to be concerned about cyber activity, cyber attacks, but it’s not necessarily on something at the level of terrorism or 9/11. This hyperbole to me is really troubling," said Valeriano on MSNBC in response to statements made by President Obama and other government officials. "It's really this general nature that we have in America of the construction of threats and what we fear, and I worry that we've gone too far with this."

“War has always fascinated me,” he continued. “But now all my work is focused on peace, and stopping the process or escalation to conflict. This is a theme that runs throughout my research, from trying to stop rivalries before they fester, to looking at the consequences of rapid military spending projects, to my most current research regarding cyber conflict and the dangers of escalation in that realm.”

As for what’s on the horizon, Valeriano will continue to work on questions of cyber security and engage in the public debate.  He will also roll up his sleeves to begin a new project on ethnic foreign policy outlooks, using international relations as a lens to understand the nature and political views of Latinos in America.

More about Valeriano:

Completing a double major in political science and history at Whittier, Valeriano went on to obtain a Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University—a career-making move he fully credits to his undergrad experience in the Franklin Society. “It taught me that one is often capable of more than they ever think possible.”

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