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Prof Cited for Contributions to Field of Cybersecurity

February 27, 2018
A Merrimack professor has been honored by a national organization devoted to intelligence and national-security issues for her ongoing contributions to the field of cybersecurity.

Alison Lawlor Russell, associate professor of political science and international relations, was presented with the Sidney D. Drell Academic Award by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance at the group’s eighth annual Achievement Awards ceremony Feb. 22 in Washington, D.C.

“I’m honored to receive this award,” Lawlor said. “Cyberspace is of vital importance to our society, economy, government and military.”

The Drell Award is given annually to a graduate student or untenured professor who has made outstanding contributions in the intelligence and national-security realm.

Russell has contributed extensively to the interdisciplinary study of cybersecurity and championed cybersecurity as a public-education issue central to national well-being. Her research provides critical contributions to the discussion of how the United States operates within cyberspace and the development of cyberspace rules, expectations and international norms and laws.

Russell’s latest book, “Strategic A2/AD in Cyberspace” (Cambridge University Press, 2017), provides the first comprehensive analysis of the ability to deny a state access to cyberspace. Her first book, “Cyber Blockades” (Georgetown University Press, 2014), was the first to examine whether and how to conduct cyber-blockade operations.

Russell’s publications and presentations have been of great assistance to the Navy as it strives to leverage and defend cyberspace as an operation domain. She is also contributing to ongoing research on cyber and artificial intelligence at the Center for Naval Analyses. Russell’s work is pivotal to advancing the national security community’s understanding of cyberspace.

Closer to home, Russell is developing an interdisciplinary cybersecurity minor for Merrimack’s international studies program, for which she serves as director.

Russell is a graduate of Boston College and holds a master’s degree in international studies from American University and a doctorate from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

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