December 16, 2016 | Press Release

FDD’s CSIF Initiates New Project to Study Cyber-Enabled Economic Warfare

(Washington, D.C., Dec. 16 2016) – Recognizing the significant gap in U.S. strategic thinking about how adversaries may use cyberattacks to disrupt the U.S. economy and threaten its national security, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance (CSIF) is launching a new project to study how America can protect itself from cyber-enabled economic warfare.

The project will be spearheaded by Samantha Ravich, former deputy national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney and co-chair of the congressionally-mandated National Commission for Review of Research and Development Programs in the U.S. Intelligence Community. Dr. Ravich is a senior advisor to CSIF and a member of its Board of Advisors.

“The cyber-enabled economic warfare project will address the convergence of economic and cyber threats, vulnerabilities, and capabilities — and the need to create new strategies and doctrines in this field,” said Juan Zarate, former deputy national security advisor for combating terrorism and current CSIF chairman. “We launched CSIF two years ago with the recognition that we have entered a new era in which financial and economic tools have become essential instruments of statecraft and national security. This new project builds on CSIF’s cutting-edge research and analysis into emerging threats and trends in economic warfare.”

“The electronically connected global economy has created numerous opportunities for nefarious actors to exploit new methods of economic warfare,” said Ravich, editor of a two volume monograph on the evolving challenge of cyber-enabled economic warfare. “States and non-state actors use cyber means to penetrate critical economic assets and systems to harm the United States and our allies. The cyber-enabled economic warfare project will help policymakers understand the intentions, strategies, capabilities and vulnerabilities of U.S. adversaries and to develop policies to defeat them.”

CSIF’s cyber-enabled economic warfare project aims to provide a foundation for the U.S. government and policy community to better understand cyber-enabled economic warfare. The research and analysis will promote a greater understanding within the U.S. government, private sector, and allied countries of the threats and opportunities that the new environment poses and help policymakers develop and implement a winning strategy for the United States within this domain.

The project is guided by an advisory group of former government officials and senior leaders and practitioners in foreign policy, national security, and the financial, economic, and trade arenas. Members of the advisory group include Stewart Baker, John P. Carlin, Steven Chabinsky, Frank Cilluffo, Rajesh De, Karen Evans, Nick Fishwick CMG, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, Todd Hinnen, Jamil Jaffer, Jeffrey Johnson, Sean Kanuck, Herbert Lin, David Shedd, Rhea Siers, Kiron Skinner, Matthew Spence, V.S. Subrahmanian, and Mark Weatherford.

“We are fortunate to have brought together some of the deepest thinkers on how state and non-state actors are using cyber weapons as tools of statecraft and national security,” said FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz. “Their expertise will play an important role in recommending core research questions and strategic guidance on policy ideas, which we hope will shape the public and private sectors’ understanding and response to cyber-enabled economic warfare.” 


To arrange an interview, contact [email protected] or 202.403.2904.

About FDD:

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)3 policy institute focusing on foreign policy and national security. Founded in 2001, FDD combines policy research, democracy and counterterrorism education, strategic communications and investigative journalism in support of its mission to promote pluralism, defend democratic values and fight the ideologies that drive terrorism. Visit our website at and connect with us on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.