Brian Nussbaum is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs at the State University of New York at Albany. His research and teaching focuses on cyber threats, terrorism, homeland security, risk and intelligence analysis, and critical infrastructure protection. Dr. Nussbaum formerly served as Senior Intelligence Analyst with the New York State Office of Counter Terrorism (OCT), a part of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES). He oversaw both terrorism and cyber threat analysis efforts at New York's designated state fusion center, the New York State Intelligence Center (NYSIC). Dr. Nussbaum served as a subject matter expert on international terrorism, and helped to create NYSIC's Cyber Analysis Unit (CAU). Additionally, Dr. Nussbaum served as the first-ever Visiting Professor of Homeland Defense at the United States Army War College in Carlisle, PA (2012-2013), where he worked with the Homeland Defense and Security Issues (HDSI) group in the Strategic Wargaming Division of the Center for Strategic Leadership and Development (CSLD). Dr. Nussbaum received his PhD and MA in Political Science from the University at Albany and BA in Political Science from Binghamton University. His work has appeared in numerous books and journals including Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Global Crime, and the Journal of Applied Security Research.
The State of Washington has undertaken a series of efforts around cyber security that are unique, noteworthy, and potentially of interest to other state and local governments. First and foremost, Washington has made an important conceptual choice, centering its efforts within the broader discipline of emergency management.
Tracking the institutional response of state and local governments to cyber threats is relatively tough in many cases. Security concerns, rapid changes, and limited transparency all collectively make finding official and primary sources challenging. As such, when there are useful data sources to help understand these issues, they’re worthy of note. One such set of data comes from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Annual Fusion Center Assessmen
The rapid growth of embedded computing and the “Internet of Things” (IoT) have been felt in many industries and areas, but few organizations and jurisdictions have been affected as quickly and as deeply as cities. The emergence of “smart cities” – those cities that “…integrate cyber-physical technologies and infrastructure to create environmental and economic efficiency while improving the overall quality of life” –
In November, the Pell Center at Salve Regina University released a report - State of the States on Cyber Security - on cyber security efforts in eight state governments across the US. (The chart on page 8 provides a nice snapshot) This is an important topic, and one that has been wildly under-examined. Additional information on state cyber efforts is available in papers and studies by organizations like the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (
This article examines the challenge facing cyber intelligence analysts who have to explain threat information and analysis to non-technical consumers, like executives or law enforcement. It explains why these challenges are common, but are often more pronounced in state and local government contexts. Finally, it proposes a conceptual framework to think about the tradeoffs such analysts face, examines similar challenges in other policy areas, and offers strategies for communicating threat information effectively under various constraints.
The recent tumult around the emergence of a dossier suggesting salacious things about President Donald Trump has cast light on a series of for-profit intelligence firms with names like “Orbis International” and “Fusion GPS.” Such organizations are part of a huge industry providing information, analysis, and “decision advantage” for companies, investors, political parties, and often government agencies. It is a giant industry, and one that was predicted with remarkable insight i
During the presidential primary, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz suggested increased surveillance and policing of Muslim neighborhoods in the United States. This suggestion has rightly provoked the ire of many people across the political spectrum. Even more than being out of step with American values, these strategies are counterproductive to good counterterrorism policy.
In August 2015, I had the good fortune to present at the New York State Emergency Management Certification and Training (EMC&T) Academy in Albany, NY. The EMC&T is a unique program New York State runs to provide training, insights into state operations and professional development to state and local emergency management officials. The areas covered ranged from continuity of operations and social media to emergency operations center procedures, terrorism and natural hazard threats.
"Brian Nussbaum, assistant professor at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs at the State University of New York at Albany, said in the report that “the real question is the tier below these large global cities.”
“The NYPD [New York Police Department] has 35,000 police officers, which is almost three times the size of the FBI, so they have the capacity to specialize and work on these things in ways that even the top 20 cities in terms of population don’t.”"
"More than a hundred security researchers and computer science experts have warned in a letter to lawmakers that not enough is being done to ensure the integrity of state and federal elections.
""In terms of large, structural changes, in terms of how people go in and out of these facilities, I don't imagine there are going to be huge changes," Brian Nussbaum, a former employee of the New York State Office of Counterterrorism, said in a phone interview."
""The election did do a lot to awaken the state and local governments that had perhaps not thought so much about cybersecurity," said Brian Nussbaum, assistant professor at the University of Albany's College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity in New York.
"“What is important to remember about video cameras is that they are not preventative measures, rather they are exceptionally useful – but for forensics and investigation after the fact,” said Brian Nussbaum, Ph.D., assistant professor, University at Albany’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity. “There were and are security measures in place in Manchester. But security measures that can prevent a lone attacker who is outside a security cordon for a major event from setting of a bomb are probably not realistic in most places.”"
"That inability to address growing cyber risk is part of what makes state and local governments easy targets for hackers, says Brian Nussbaum, a professor focusing on cybersecurity at the State University of New York at Albany. At the federal level, defense and intelligence agencies have large security staffs with deep expertise that other federal agencies often rely on. “States really don’t have that deep well of technical assistance to draw upon,” says Nussbaum."
"FBI Director James Comey has said that voter-registration sites in at least a dozen states — including Arizona — were targeted by hackers.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has broached the idea of increasing the protection for the nation’s voting systems. They could potentially be put under the umbrella of critical infrastructure, which currently includes the electrical grid and the banking system, among other things.