The University of South Florida (USF), in partnership with the National Defense University’s Near East and South Asia (NESA) Center for Strategic Studies and U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), hosts a semi-annual Great Power Competition Conference series to provide military and civilian policy-makers and thought leaders a broader understanding of the various national security challenges facing the United States in the 21st Century from near-peer global powers, i.e., China and Russia, as well as regional powers, such as Iran and North Korea, through a forum that brings together strategic thinkers, scholars, leaders, and subject matter experts.

The third conference in the Great Power Competition series, scheduled for April 15-16, 2021, addresses the cybersecurity threat facing the U.S. and its allies and partners. The conference encompasses not only military and technological dimensions but also the social, economic, and political risks associated with cybersecurity threats and capabilities from potential adversaries who seek to steal information, cause disruption, and influence behavior in pursuit of global and/or regional goals. Their actions pose an acute threat to national and international security, critical infrastructure, economic stability, and social cohesion.

  • The event will examine the United States’ role in cyberspace from two perspectives: threat and response. First, speakers and panelists will discuss current and emerging cyberattacks conducted by various nation-states and their proxies: Who and what are the targets? Who is behind the attacks? What are the strategic, operational, and tactical objectives behind these attacks?

  • From there, we will explore national options for responding to these threats on the tactical, strategic, and doctrinal levels: How can we respond to these threats, and how should we respond? What are the obstacles to and consequences of strategic and tactical response options? What technological solutions are on the horizon? Should the U.S. adopt a more multi-domain offensive posture that eschews the current dominant “cyber vs cyber” paradigm?

To help answer these questions, the 3rd Great Power Competition Conference will examine the technological threats to critical infrastructure; cyber operations strategy, tactics, and doctrine; information influence operations; the weaponization of social media; and more.