Official Launch: NSI Cyber and Tech Center

The National Security Institute held its in-person launch of NSI’s new Cyber and Tech Center (CTC) on Tuesday, September 19, from 4 – 6pm ET. The NSI CTC will take on and expand NSI’s current efforts to promote American leadership in technology innovation and engage with policymakers on critical issues at the intersection of technology and national security.

The CTC’s launch event featured a fireside chat with Jen Easterly, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), who discussed today’s threat landscape – including aggressive cyber operations from China and the risks posed by generative AI – as well as cyber lessons learned from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its ongoing conduct during the invasion. After the discussion, attendees joined NSI for a reception in the Hazel Hall atrium to celebrate the official launch of the NSI Cyber and Tech Center.

As part of the CTC’s informal launch in early 2023, NSI held a series of events focused on the early cyber lessons learned from the war in Ukraine, including how the American public and private sectors supported Ukraine in cyberspace and with the deployment of American cyber capabilities, how the public and private sectors worked together to defend the United States at home through efforts like Shields Up, and what these efforts both at home and abroad might teach us about potential future conflicts and operationalizing cyber defenses at the regional, state, and local level. Learn more about the NSI CTC here.

Watch the full conversation here.


  • Jen Easterly, Director, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
  • Jamil N. Jaffer, Founder & Executive Director, National Security Institute
  • Jessica Jones, Deputy Executive Director, National Security Institute
  • RADM Mark Montgomery, fmr. Executive Director, Cyberspace Solarium Commission

Jen Easterly: Jen Easterly is the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). She was nominated by President Biden in April 2021 and unanimously confirmed by the Senate on July 12, 2021. As Director, Jen leads CISA’s efforts to understand, manage, and reduce risk to the cyber and physical infrastructure Americans rely on every day. She is a proud Mom, a mental health advocate, a Rubik’s Cube enthusiast, and an aspiring electric guitarist. Before serving in her current role, Jen was the head of Firm Resilience at Morgan Stanley, responsible for ensuring preparedness and response to business-disrupting operational incidents and risks to the Firm. She also helped build and served as the first Global Head of Morgan Stanley’s Cybersecurity Fusion Center, the Firm’s center of gravity for cyber defense operations. Jen has a long tradition of public service, to include two tours at the White House, most recently as Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Counterterrorism and earlier as Executive Assistant to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. She also served as the Deputy for Counterterrorism at the National Security Agency. A two-time recipient of the Bronze Star, Jen retired from the U.S. Army after more than twenty years of service in intelligence and cyber operations, including tours of duty in Haiti, the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Responsible for standing up the Army’s first cyber battalion, she was also instrumental in the design and creation of United States Cyber Command. A distinguished graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Jen holds a master’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 2023 Sisterhood Award from Girls Who Code; the 2022 National Defense University Admiral Grace Hopper Award; the 2021 Cybersecurity Ventures Cybersecurity Person of the Year Award; the 2020 Bradley W. Snyder Changing the Narrative Award, and the 2018 James W. Foley Legacy Foundation American Hostage Freedom Award. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a French American Foundation Young Leader, Jen is the past recipient of the Aspen Finance Leaders Fellowship, the National Security Institute Visiting Fellowship, the New America Foundation Senior International Security Fellowship, the Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship, and the Director, National Security Agency Fellowship.

Jamil Jaffer (Moderator): Jamil N. Jaffer is the founder and executive director of the National Security Institute at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. He previously served as chief counsel and senior adviser to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and, among other roles, as an associate counsel to President George W. Bush in the White House.

Jessica Jones (Moderator): Jessica Jones is the Deputy Executive Director of the National Security Institute where she leads all day-to-day operations, works with NSI’s Executive Director to set NSI’s overall strategic direction, including policy priorities, stakeholder engagement, brand development, and fundraising goals.  In addition to directing Congressional and executive branch outreach, she leads the development and execution of NSI’s external and internal policy programming focused on key national security issues and oversees the NSI Fellows program and NSI’s educational mission including the management of multiple academic programs.  Prior to joining the National Security Institute, she held positions at the Congressional Research Service and Women in International Security, consulted for the Antiquities Coalition, and practiced law at Smith Freed & Eberhard.  She was a Special Assistant United States Attorney for  the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon and spent time at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.   Jessica is an honors graduate of Vanderbilt University and Emory University School of Law.  She received her Master’s in International Economics and Strategic Studies with honors from The John Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, where she was selected for a Priscilla Mason Fellowship.

RADM Mark Montgomery (Ret.): Mark Montgomery is currently a Distinguished Fellow for the NSI Cyber and Tech Center, and also serves as senior director of the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation, where he leads FDD’s efforts to advance U.S. prosperity and security through technology innovation while countering cyber threats that seek to diminish them. Mark also directs CSC 2.0, an initiative that works to implement the recommendations of the congressionally mandated Cyberspace Solarium Commission, where he served as executive director. Previously, Mark served as policy director for the Senate Armed Services Committee under the leadership of Senator John S. McCain, coordinating policy efforts on national security strategy, capabilities and requirements, and cyber policy. Mark served for 32 years in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear-trained surface warfare officer, retiring as a rear admiral in 2017. His flag officer assignments included director of operations (J3) at U. S. Pacific Command; commander of Carrier Strike Group 5, embarked on the USS George Washington, stationed in Japan; and deputy director for plans, policy and strategy (J5) at U. S. European Command. He was assigned to the National Security Council from 1998 to 2000, serving as director for transnational threats. Mark has graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Oxford and completed the U.S. Navy’s nuclear power training program.