Congressional Study Group Discussion

Geopolitics in the Digital Era

Honorary Dinner Speakers

Nathaniel Fick, Ambassador at Large, Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, U.S. Department of State

Melissa Hathaway, President, Hathaway Global Strategies LLC

The State Department established the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy (CDP) in 2022 in recognition of the growing importance of digital diplomacy and the ever-expanding role cyberspace plays in shaping economic, strategic, and human rights outcomes. This new bureau now leads the State Department’s work on issues ranging from information and communications technology policy to cybersecurity to challenges arising from emerging technology. Building on the bipartisan consensus to establish the Bureau in 2021, Congress’s continued support of CDP’s growing role in foreign policy reflects increasing awareness of the need for U.S. leadership on digital issues.

In June of 2023, the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) hosted the next in its series of off-the-record Pacific Rim Congressional Study Group dinners for senior congressional staff. The group was joined by the inaugural Ambassador at Large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy, Nathaniel Fick, and Melissa Hathaway, a former senior cybersecurity official in both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.

Participants discussed topics including:

  • How to balance between the realities of strategic competition and the need to present an affirmative vision for U.S. leadership to partners who do not share the U.S. threat perception
  • How Congress can support CDP in its establishment of new bureaucratic structures and coordination mechanisms to support its work, especially related to cyber capacity building, both domestically and internationally
  • The cyber challenges posed by malign actors including Russia and the PRC, and their use of proxies to advance their activities
  • The role of the U.S. private sector in working with government to advance U.S. cybersecurity objectives and building governance frameworks for emerging technologies.