Amy Ertan's Visiting Fellowship
11 Jul 2023

Amy Ertan's Visiting Fellowship

Visiting Fellowship Program

In March, Amy Ertan joined us for a Visiting Fellowship at The Hague Program on International Cyber Security at Leiden University's The Hague Campus. We sat down with her to hear about her fellowship experience.

Why were you interested in coming here?

Having followed the Program’s events and research publications since its creation, I had spent some time hoping to visit the Program before my application to become a Fellow. My PhD research focused on the security implications of military artificial intelligence, while I also published on issues relating to cyber conflict. For each research strand, the Hague Program has been hugely influential, in not only releasing exceptional interdisciplinary research but in also promoting the growth of an active European community of passionate researchers. Meeting with some of the Program’s researchers during the course of previous research projects and events, it was a delight to be able to connect with new and familiar faces as I joined for the Fellowship.  

What did you work on during the fellowship?

During the Fellowship I focused my research the evolving role of cyberspace in strategic competition. In particular, drawing on the context of the war in Ukraine, my research first explored the evidence that strategic competitors are showing an increasing willingness and capability to use cyber operations to support their strategic objectives, and then proposed a discussion on how NATO allies and like-minded states may effectively defend themselves in this “new normal”. I was invited to publish the outcomes of this research with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, alongside experts including former Visiting Fellow Julie Voo. My article focused on three calls to action: first, dynamic strategic positioning for cyber defence; second, prioritising national and international resilience-building efforts in cyber defence, and third, sustainable engagement with relevant industry actors in peacetime, crisis, and conflict.

My time as a Fellow was incredibly useful in allowing me to dedicate time to building out the structure and narrative of the article. The visit was also an excellent opportunity to be able to discuss my ideas with academics and experts within The Hague Program community, and my work benefited from the chance to learn about their research.

The full report, “Evolving Cyber Operations and Capabilities”, is available here, and the launch event can be viewed here.

What's next for you?

I am currently a Cyber and Hybrid Policy Officer at NATO, where I supports the development of cyber policies and initiatives across the Alliance. Complementary to my role, I hope to continue to engage with the research community and the staff at the Hague Programme, particularly on topics such as the evolving role of technology in strategic competition, as well as policy themes including resilience and national approaches to cyber defence. I am also an active member of the cyber exercising and training research community and was fortunate enough to coordinate our third annual workshop on effective exercise design at this year’s International Conference on Cyber Conflict conference. Finally, I am passionate about encouraging new and diverse talent into the cyber security workforce, and I hope to expand on my efforts to promote the varied and exciting opportunities in this field.

Are you also interested to join our Visiting Fellowship Program? Applications for Fall 2023 have closed, but applications for a Spring 2024 stay are welcomed until 15 December 2023. Check out the Fellowships section for more information and the application process.