2018 Larry D. Welch Award for Best External Publication

This year’s winner of the Larry D. Welch Award for Best External Publication is 

"Deterrence is Not a Credible Strategy for Cyberspace," by Information Technology and Systems Division (ITSD) researcher Michael Fischerkeller and co-author Richard Harknett. Their paper was published in Orbis, the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s quarterly journal of world affairs, May 18, 2017.

The paper breaks new ground by challenging the credibility of the deterrence paradigm applied to the cyberspace domain. Dr. Fischerkeller’s interest in this subject was motivated by his review of U.S. Government strategy documents as well as academic literature related to cyberspace operations. While he was embedded at U.S Cyber Command as part of an ITSD project, Michael’s ideas took shape and attracted the attention of several people, including his co-author who then was a Scholar-in-Residence at USCYBERCOM from the University of Cincinnati.

Michael has written other papers on this topic. His article “Incorporating Cyber Operations into Conventional Deterrence Strategies” appeared in Survival, Global Politics and Strategy, published by the International Institute of Strategic Studies in January 2017. His third related paper, “Offense-Defense Theory, Cyberspace, and the Irrelevance of Advantage” has been submitted for journal publication.

Michael’s efforts have been noticed in the national security community. His papers have prompted invitations to speak with numerous staffs in the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the National Security Council, and the Senate Armed Services Committee. Also, he has presented papers at several symposia, including ones organized by the National Academies of Science and the NATO School in Germany.

Dr. Fischerkeller received his PhD in international security from The Ohio State University. He joined IDA in 1998, serving first in the Strategy, Forces and Resources Division (SFRD) and then in the Joint Advanced Warfighting Division (JAWD), before moving to ITSD in 2014. In addition to his many contributions from IDA offices in Alexandria, Michael has served as an embedded analyst at the U.S. Cyber Command, the U.S. Pacific Command, and the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation in the Pentagon.

Dr. Harknett received his PhD in political science from The Johns Hopkins University. Since 2012, he has served as the Department Head of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati.

Information Technology and Systems Division (ITSD) researcher Michael Fischerkeller with Dr. Chu

2018 Larry D. Welch Award for Best External Publication winner ITSD researcher Michael Fischerkeller with IDA President Dr. Chu. (co-author Richard Harknett not pictured).

Previous Award Winners


  Dexter Fletcher and James Kulik,
Science and Technology Division

  Arun Maiya, Dale Visser, Andrew Wan,
Information Technology and Systems Division

  Lee Hirsch, Science and Technology Division,
Jeremy Teichman, Science and Technology Division

  Carl Gaither, Chris Jackson, Dawn Loper, Operational Evaluation Division,
Jasmina Pozderac, former OED researcher
2013    Kent Haspert, Mike Tuley, Science and Technology Division
   Kevin Woods, Joint Advanced Warfighting Division