Larry D. Welch Award for best external publication

Photo of award recipients

This year’s winner of the Larry D. Welch Award for Best External Publication is “Cyber Persistence Theory: Redefining National Security in Cyberspace,” by IDA’s Michael Fischerkeller and coauthors Emily Goldman and Richard Harknett. The book was published by Oxford University Press in 2022.

About the Book
National security in and through cyberspace rests on features that are distinctly different from the security paradigms associated with nuclear and conventional weapons environments. However, many countries base their cyber strategies on the model of war and coercion, which differs from the reality of state activities in cyberspace. The authors show that deterrence theory cannot fully explain cyber conflict and offer an original approach that better aligns with the empirical evidence of states’ cyber behaviors. Their cyber persistence theory posits the existence of a distinct strategic environment supporting the logic of exploitation rather than coercion. To achieve security in this environment, they argue, states must engage in initiative persistence, continuously setting and maintaining the conditions of security in their favor. Whereas security requires states to triumph in war in the conventional environment and avoid war in the nuclear environment, states in the cyber strategic environment have an alternative short of war in achieving strategically relevant outcomes. The authors develop a novel approach to national cyber security strategy and policy that realigns theory and practice.

Our Award Recipients
Michael Fischerkeller has expertise in cyber strategy and strategic and operational concept development and assessment. He holds a doctorate in international relations. Emily Goldman is a cyber strategist at the U.S. Cyber Command. She holds a doctorate in political science. Richard Harknett is a professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati, director of the School of Public and International Affairs, co-director of the Ohio Cyber Range Institute and chair of the Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy. He holds a doctorate in political science.

Other Finalist Nominations
The Welch Award Selection Committee named the following publications as finalists among the nominations this year. Together, these publications illustrate the diversity of IDA expertise and reflect well upon the authors and IDA.

Prashant Patel and Daniel Scheeres, “Rapid and Automatic Reachability Estimation of Electric Propulsion Spacecraft,” Journal of the Astronautical Sciences 70, article 45.

Thomas Greenwood, “Why Ukraine’s Breakthrough Operations Are So Difficult,” The National Interest.

Jay Wilkins, David Sparrow, Caitlan Fealing, Brian Vickers, Kristina Ferguson and Heather Wojton, “A Team-Centric Metric Framework for Testing and Evaluation of Human-Machine Teams,” Systems Engineering.

Paul Fanto, Cameron Liang and Angelo Signoracci, “A Stochastic Source-Sink Framework for Orbital Debris,” Second International Orbital Debris Conference.

Joel Williamsen, James Heagy, Peter Mancini, Hannah Yi, Courtney Au-Yeung, Daniel Pechkis and Robert Stellingwerf, “Lethal Debris Creation following Untracked Orbital Debris Impacts on a SmallSat Constellation,” Second Orbital Debris Conference Papers.