Research and Scholarship

Each destination area seeks to tackle a collection of wicked problems. The problem areas targeted by the Integrated Security destination area are below.

Security for the Internet of Everything 

A cyber-physical-human system (CPHS) involves the interconnection of the digital world, the physical world, and humans interacting with both worlds. Examples range from home automation to self-driving cars, and the breadth technologies increases every day new new innovations. Broadly speaking, these technologies seek to optimize our environment through analytics and efficiencies; however, they also open up major new attack vectors for hackers and could seriously compromise our privacy. The importance of security for these systems is illustrated by the recent disclosure that the U.S. Attorney General would be investigating hacking intrusions into consumer goods and connected vehicles, commenting on security issues: “The Internet on wheels … clearly is going to present national security risks as this transformation takes place.” Over the next four years, the number of Interent-connected devices will more than double; meanwhile, fundamental security and privacy challenges have not yet been addressed for these new technologies.

Example topics of study for this area include:

  • Critical infrastructure security
  • Privacy for the Internet of Things
  • Safe and secure autonomous systems
  • Human factors in security

Governance and Ethics for Security

Interconnected and dependent systems require that industry and commercial entities be secure and resilient. Economic stability, national security and even environmental preservation are affected by business decision making and actions to adopt and implement security. Research regarding adoption, use, and audit of security and privacy practices and technology is essential.

These interconnected systems do not stand in isolation of the citizens and commerce they seek to protect. Without a governance framework and ethical decision-making, security systems themselves can become threats to widely-held values and democratic societies. For example, personal data collection to manage scarce resources or medical and behavioral information collected to predict health outcomes for patients, stand in stark contrast to the threats to personal autonomy and privacy created by systems of panoptic surveillance if left without a method of accountability and governance. The relationship between citizens and their government, consumers and businesses, and humans and their environment is challenged. Regulatory choices differ across the globe, as privacy and personal integrity is seen as a fundamental human right.

In addition to the security versus privacy debate, this topic includes a range of research in the intersection of governance and policy with the fields of national security, homeland security, and preparedness. This ranges from national defense policy to the complex intersections between industry and regulators to address challenges of homeland security and critical infrastructure protection.

Example topics of study for this area include:

  • Civil liberties and autonomy in the era of big data and surveillance
  • Privacy and security frameworks
  • Integrated science, technology, and policy approaches to global security challenges
  • Intersection of technology, people, organization, and processes in security and resilience governance

Analytics for National Security and Preparedness

Big data analytics can help improve security, enhance situational awareness, and enable a more robust response to disasters. To improve security, big data analytics can be used to analyze transactional data to detect anomalies and suspicious activities. Similarly to enable resilience, forecasting techniques can be used to inform decisions and create proactive policies that significantly improve national security and preparedness. Improved data collection and development of new detection and sensing technologies lead to enhanced reliability and resilience. Global security is increasingly dependent on machine intelligence, ranging from the autonomous control of automobiles and drones, to the predictive analytics that forecast public health outbreaks, to the forecasting of threats to national security. Research disciplines in this area are broad, and include national security, homeland security, disaster resilience, nuclear security, non-proliferation, counter-proliferation, and cybersecurity. The unifying factor across these discplines in the reliance on big data technqiues to analyze and solve problems.

Example topics of study for this area include:

  • Threat analytics and forecasting
  • Modeling and predictive analytics for global disaster resilience
  • Nuclear security, non-profileration, and counter-proliferation
  • Machine intelligence for defense platforms and systems