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Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy pres.

Cybersecurity: Threats, policy, and responses

Paul Abbate and Teresa Carlson Paul Abbate and Teresa Carlson
Paul Abbate and Teresa Carlson
Over the last decade cybersecurity issues have risen in prominence in both the public and private spheres—there have been near daily reports regarding cyber operations launched by nation states, hacking groups and criminal organizations. Cybersecurity was a key issue in the 2016 Presidential election, and as we head toward the 2020 election during the upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic it remains at the forefront. In this conversation, Paul Abbate, Associate Deputy Director of the FBI, and Teresa Carlson, Vice President of Amazon Web Services Worldwide Public Sector, will discuss some of the challenges in addressing current cybersecurity threats, formulating policy, and calibrating responses. Javed Ali, Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the Ford School, will moderate the discussion.

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From the speakers' bios:

Paul M. Abbate is the associate deputy director of the FBI. In this position, he is responsible for the management of all FBI personnel, budget, administration, and infrastructure. Prior to his appointment in 2018, Abbate was the executive assistant director for the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing all FBI criminal and cyber investigations worldwide, international operations, critical incident response, and victim assistance.

Abbate began his FBI career in March 1996 as a special agent assigned to the New York Field Office, where he worked in the Criminal Division and served as a member of the SWAT Team. He has since worked in many positions within the FBI, including deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, serving as a supervisory special agent within the Newark Division’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, and special agent in charge of the Detroit Division, covering the state of Michigan. He also served as assistant section chief in the Counterterrorism Division, providing national-level oversight and guidance of all United States-based international terrorism investigations, among other positions.

Teresa Carlson leads the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Worldwide Public Sector business, which includes state, local, central and regional governments; educational institutions and Ed Techs; non-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGO); and she advises Amazon Public Policy on global policy issues.

Since starting AWS’s public sector business in 2010, Carlson has driven the business’ growth, which today accounts for 2,300 government, 7,000 education, and 22,000 nonprofit customers, and a vast partner ecosystem across all geographies. Carlson has received many honors over the years, including being named as one of Business Insider’s Most Important People in Cloud Computing, Washington Life’s Power 100 list, Washingtonian Tech Titan, and is a recipient of the 2016 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which recognizes individuals who have made it their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion. Prior to joining AWS, Carlson served as Vice President of Microsoft Federal Government, where she led the company’s US Federal Government business. Before moving into technology, Carlson worked in health care, as a practitioner and consultant initially, then as a business manager and area vice president, responsible for national accounts, marketing, and business development.

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