NSI-Silverado Debate: Cyber Offense vs. Cyber Defense


The National Security Institute and Silverado Policy Accelerator were excited to co-host a debate on Cyber Offense vs. Cyber Defense: How to Best Protect Against Cyber Exploits on Thursday, January 21 at 1 PM – 2PM ET.

The United States faces a number of emerging threats as countries like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea seek to utilize cyberspace for their geopolitical goals. A debate rages amongst cyber experts as to whether (and how aggressively) the United States and its allies ought to use offensive tactics in its conflicts with its adversaries, or whether we ought stick to principally defensive maneuvers.

Thanks for joining NSI and Silverado for a debate on the motion:

“The best form of defense in cyber is defense.”

Ciaran Martin and Heather Adkins argued for the motion and Jamil N. Jaffer and Dmitri Alperovitch will argue against it.



This event featured:


Dmitri Alperovitch, Executive Chairman, Silverado Policy Accelerator and Advisory Board Member, National Security Institute






Jamil Jaffer, Founder and Executive Director, National Security Institute







Heather Adkins, Director, Information Security and Privacy, Google






Ciaran Martin, Former CEO, National Cyber Security Centre




Dmitri Alperovitch is the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Silverado Policy Accelerator, a non-profit focused on advancing American prosperity and global leadership in the 21st century and beyond. He is a Co-Founder and former CTO of CrowdStrike Inc., a leading cybersecurity company. A renowned computer security visionary, he is a thought-leader on cybersecurity strategy and state tradecraft and has served as special advisor to the Department of Defense.  He is a frequent strategic cybersecurity advisor to CEOs and Board of Directors of public and private companies.  Alperovitch is also an active angel investor and board member at multiple high-growth technology companies.


Jamil N. Jaffer is the Founder and Executive Director of the National Security Institute, and an Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the National Security Law & Policy Program at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.  Jamil is also Senior Vice President for Strategy, Partnerships & Corporate Development at IronNet Cybersecurity, a technology products startup founded by Gen (ret.) Keith B. Alexander, the former Director of the National Security Agency and Founding Commander of U.S. Cyber Command.  In addition, Jamil is an advisor to Beacon Global Strategies, a strategic advisory firm; 4iQ, a deep and dark web intelligence startup; Duco, a technology platform startup that connects corporations with geopolitical and international business experts; and Amber, a digital authentication and verification startup.


Heather Adkins is the Director for Information Security and Privacy at Google.  As a 16-year Google veteran and founding member of the Google Security Team, she has built a global team responsible for maintaining the safety and security of Google’s networks, systems, and applications. She has an extensive background in systems and network administration with an emphasis on practical security, and has worked to build and secure some of the world’s largest infrastructure. She now focuses her time primarily on the defense of Google’s computing infrastructure and working with industry to tackle some of the greatest security challenges as part of the Defending Digital Democracy project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School.


Ciaran Martin is the former CEO of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre. He is currently a Professor of Practice at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. For six and a half years ending in mid-2020, he led the UK Government’s work on cybersecurity. Prior to running the NCSC, Ciaran held a series of senior roles in the UK Cabinet Office, including Director of Security and Intelligence. He is now an advisor to Paladin Capital in the United States, and to Garrison Technology in the UK.