Political Luncheon with Richard A. Clarke

Berlin, March 29, 2011

Richard A. Clarke, former National Coordinator for Security & Counter-Terrorism, former Special Presidential Advisor for Cyber Security, and Chairman of Good Harbor Consulting, LLC, met with representatives of federal ministries, government agencies and selected think tanks to discuss the role of cyber threats for National Security and gave recommendations on how to best deal with the threats of cyber attacks.

A distinction was drawn at the start of the discussion between cyber espionage, which has been a daily occurrence for many years, and cyber war, which is a virtual attack on a state’s communications infrastructure. The discussion focused on the far-reaching consequences of a cyber attack on, for example, the computer systems of oil pipelines and nuclear power stations.

The participants agreed unanimously that one of the central challenges was the lack of clarity about the precise origins of cyber attacks. The question of who was responsible for cyber attacks was just as challenging to address as who was supposed to take charge of cyber security. Some of the participants called for an international cooperation agreement. In this connection, they supported the suggestion to apply the principle of arms control to cyber attacks when formulating a cyberwarfare arms limitation treaty. The discussion also touched on the future role of Germany’s new National Cyberdefence Centre.

Körber Foundation regularly invites a small circle of high-ranking actors within Berlin’s foreign policy community to its Political Background Discussions. As in the Bergedorf Round Tables, the discussions take place shielded from the public, so as to enable a confidential, frank, and constructive exchange.

See also:

  • Munich Young Leaders Round Table on Security Policy during the Munich Security Conference 2011