Publications

CSET produces evidence-driven analysis in a variety of forms, from informative graphics and translations to expert testimony and published reports. Our key areas of inquiry are the foundations of artificial intelligence — such as talent, data and computational power — as well as how AI can be used in cybersecurity and other national security settings. We also do research on the policy tools that can be used to shape AI’s development and use, and on biotechnology.

Analysis

Which Ties Will Bind?

Sam Bresnick Ngor Luong Kathleen Curlee
| February 2024

U.S. technology companies have become important actors in modern conflicts, and several of them have meaningfully contributed to Ukraine’s defense. But many of these companies are deeply entangled with China, potentially complicating their decision-making in a potential Taiwan contingency.

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Analysis

Examining Singapore’s AI Progress

Kayla Goode Heeu Millie Kim Melissa Deng
| March 2023

Despite being a small city-state, Singapore’s star continues to rise as an artificial intelligence hub presenting significant opportunities for international collaboration. Initiatives such as fast-tracking patent approval, incentivizing private investment, and addressing talent shortfalls are making the country a rapidly growing global AI hub. Such initiatives offer potential models for those seeking to leverage the technology and opportunities for collaboration in AI education and talent exchanges, research and development, and governance. The United States and Singapore share similar goals regarding the development and use of trusted and responsible AI and should continue to foster greater collaboration among public and private sector entities.

Analysis

Downrange: A Survey of China’s Cyber Ranges

Dakota Cary
| September 2022

China is rapidly building cyber ranges that allow cybersecurity teams to test new tools, practice attack and defense, and evaluate the cybersecurity of a particular product or service. The presence of these facilities suggests a concerted effort on the part of the Chinese government, in partnership with industry and academia, to advance technological research and upskill its cybersecurity workforce—more evidence that China has entered near-peer status with the United States in the cyber domain.

CSET Research Analyst Dakota Cary testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission hearing on "China’s Cyber Capabilities: Warfare, Espionage, and Implications for the United States." Cary discussed the cooperative relationship between Chinese universities and China’s military and intelligence services to develop talent with the capabilities to perform state-sponsored cyberespionage operations.

Analysis

Robot Hacking Games

Dakota Cary
| September 2021

Software vulnerability discovery, patching, and exploitation—collectively known as the vulnerability lifecycle—is time consuming and labor intensive. Automating the process could significantly improve software security and offensive hacking. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Cyber Grand Challenge supported teams of researchers from 2014 to 2016 that worked to create these tools. China took notice. In 2017, China hosted its first Robot Hacking Game, seeking to automate the software vulnerability lifecycle. Since then, China has hosted seven such competitions and the People’s Liberation Army has increased its role in hosting the games.

Analysis

Indonesia’s AI Promise in Perspective

Kayla Goode Heeu Millie Kim
| August 2021

The United States and China are keeping an eye on Indonesia’s artificial intelligence potential given the country’s innovation-driven national strategy and flourishing AI industry. China views Indonesia as an anchor for its economic, digital, and political inroads in Southeast Asia and has invested aggressively in new partnerships. The United States, with robust political and economic relations rooted in shared democratic ideals, has an opportunity to leverage its comparative advantages and tap into Indonesia’s AI potential through high-level agreements.

Analysis

China’s CyberAI Talent Pipeline

Dakota Cary
| July 2021

To what extent does China’s cultivation of talent in cybersecurity and AI matter in terms of competitiveness with other countries? Right now, it seems to have an edge: China’s 11 World-Class Cybersecurity Schools offer more classes on artificial intelligence and machine learning than do the 20 U.S. universities certified as Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations. This policy brief recommends tracking 13 research grants from the National Science Foundation that attempt to integrate AI into cybersecurity curricula.

Data Visualization

National Cybersecurity Center Map

Dakota Cary Jennifer Melot
| July 2021

China wants to be a “cyber powerhouse” (网络强国). At the heart of this mission is the sprawling 40 km2 campus of the National Cybersecurity Center. Formally called the National Cybersecurity Talent and Innovation Base (国家网络安全人才与创新基地), the NCC is being built in Wuhan. The campus, which China began constructing in 2017 and is still building, includes seven centers for research, talent cultivation, and entrepreneurship; two government-focused laboratories; and a National Cybersecurity School.

Analysis

China’s National Cybersecurity Center

Dakota Cary
| July 2021

China’s National Cybersecurity Center (NCC) resides on a 40 km2 plot in Wuhan. As one indication of its significance, the Chinese Communist Party’s highest-ranking members have an oversight committee for the facility. Over the next decade, the NCC will provide the talent, innovation, and indigenization of cyber capabilities that China’s Ministry of State Security, Ministry of Public Security, and People’s Liberation Army Strategic Support Force hacking teams lack. Though still under construction, the NCC’s first class of graduates will cross the stage in June 2022.

Analysis

Academics, AI, and APTs

Dakota Cary
| March 2021

Six Chinese universities have relationships with Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) hacking teams. Their activities range from recruitment to running cyber operations. These partnerships, themselves a case study in military-civil fusion, allow state-sponsored hackers to quickly move research from the lab to the field. This report examines these universities’ relationships with known APTs and analyzes the schools’ AI/ML research that may translate to future operational capabilities.