AICGS and Microsoft launch cybersecurity roundtable on public-private partnerships

On the same day that President Trump and Chancellor Merkel met in Washington to discuss priorities for the transatlantic agenda, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies hosted a roundtable at Microsoft Berlin to discuss ways to strengthen the bilateral relationship through public-private partnerships.

The German-American Cyber Roundtable was attended by members of the Bundestag and the U.S. Embassy; leaders in the tech community, academia, and the military; and U.S. and German policymakers. The roundtable examined how government and nongovernment actors can work together to strengthen early warning and protect against cyber-attacks and illegal intrusions, and brainstormed about developing common strategies for strengthening cybersecurity.

American and German participants discussed how states can responsibly use cyber tools to protect national security and foster international security, what oversight and accountability mechanisms are needed to ensure legitimacy and longevity in cyber operations, and how Germany and the United States can work together to strengthen their cyber defense against common enemies. How the groundwork is created for confidence-building measures as a precondition for attribution, even when multilateral formats have failed, was debated. The necessity of information-sharing between Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTS) and security agencies will remain necessary, as will a strong Europe committed to cyber norms. The role of smart spending on cybersecurity in both countries provided room for discussion.

The need for the private sector to be part of the dialogue, not only as administrators of government policies, but as standard-setters for privacy and critical infrastructure protection, will remain a priority. Likewise, close cooperation between state agencies and the private sector will remain vital to ensure protection of infrastructure serving the state, the military, and civil society, as well as intellectual property. Agreeing to uphold binding standards to strengthen cybersecurity and advance digitalization will be a vital part of that cooperation. Whether agreement can be found for such standards beyond corporate board rooms could be a question for the upcoming G-7.

The Cyber Roundtable will continue discussing proposals for the way forward for both countries to strengthen cybersecurity through public-private partnerships at its next workshop at AICGS in Washington, DC, on May 23.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.
Sarah Lohmann

Sarah Lohmann

AICGS Senior Cyber Fellow

Dr. Sarah Lohmann is AICGS' Senior Cyber Fellow based in Germany. She coordinates the Institute's cyber projects, including the Transatlantic Cyber Partnership--which brings together U.S. and German policymakers from government, the military, the tech sector, and academia--to cooperate on cyber policy. Dr. Lohmann is an expert in the field of international relations, human rights, and security policy. With over a decade of experience in government and in the classroom, she offers a unique perspective as a well-traveled practitioner and policymaker who also delights in academia.

Dr. Lohmann has served as a university instructor at the Universität der Bundeswehr since 2010. She achieved her doctorate in political science in 2013, when she became a senior researcher for the political science department. Prior to her tenure at the Universität der Bundeswehr, she was a press spokesman for the U.S. Department of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, as well as for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (MEPI). Before her government service, she was a journalist, and has traveled in over 30 countries worldwide. She has published one book and over a thousand articles in international press outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Financial Times in Germany. She is a public speaker in international forums on issues of human rights, cyber security, and transatlantic relations.