The Politics & IR Research Seminar - Offensive Cyber Operations: A Primer

The International Relations Department at WVPU is pleased to announce the next date for its Politics and IR Research Seminar Series. The primary purpose of the Research Seminars is to offer a forum to faculty members and invited academics to present their work and receive comments and feedback from colleagues and students. For students this is an excellent opportunity to gather firsthand experience with ongoing academic debates and research, as well as academic working methods. The format is a classic one: 45 minutes presentation followed by a 30-45 minute Q&A session.

The Politics & IR Research Seminar Series will continue on May 27 2019 with

Dr. Max Smeets of CISAC, Stanford University

presenting his research on

Offensive Cyber Operations: A Primer


Cyber operations, as a topic of study, is both young and old. The core technologies used in cyber operations were subject to debate and experimental implementation in the ‘60s while the policy debates over ransomware and leaks of government authored espionage malware are only a few years old. This talk serves as an introduction to the contemporary policy debates and challenges of offensive cyber operations. Major issues this talk surveys include states cyber capacity, cyber deterrence, signaling and US cyber strategy.


Dr. Max Smeets is a cybersecurity postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). He is also a non-resident cybersecurity policy fellow at New America, and Research Associate at the Centre for Technology & Global Affairs, University of Oxford.

Max's current book project focuses on the causes underlying cyber proliferation and restraint. The results of his research are valuable for understanding the likely changes in the future prevalence of offensive cyber capabilities. It clarifies to what degree this is an ‘inevitable’ development – and if/how it can be stopped.

Max was previously a College Lecturer in Politics at Keble College, University of Oxford. He has held research positions at  Oxford Cyber Studies Programme, Columbia University SIPA, Sciences Po CERI, and NATO CCD COE.

He holds an undergraduate degree from University College Roosevelt, Utrecht University, an M.Phil (Brasenose College) and DPhil (St. John's College) in International Relations from the University of Oxford.

Monday, May 27 - 14.00-15.30 - Room 3.16

As space is limited, please register at