Thursday, November 1, 2018

At the University of Pennsylvania Law School

4:30 pm 6:00 pm

Public Keynote Address (Haaga Lecture): “Russian New Generation Warfare and the Threat to the Free World” by Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, U.S. Army, Ret., former National Security Advisor, and Perry World House Distinguished Visiting Fellow

Moderated by Professor Claire Finkelstein 

This event will take place at Penn Law in the Michael Fitts Auditorium


Friday, November 2, 2018

Unless otherwise indicated, all events will be held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia
8:30 am 9:30 am Sign-In and Continental Breakfast - John C. Bogle Chairman’s Room
9:30 am 9:45 am Welcome Remarks

9:45 am


11:00 am


Session 1—Historical Roots of Foreign Interference: The Framers and Their Efforts to Secure Democratic Independence
Moderator: Professor Stanley Katz

Concern over foreign interference in domestic institutions has deep roots in the history of liberal democracy. In the American context, the founding fathers held a deep regard for the dangers posed by foreign actors wishing to interfere in the domestic institutions of the young republic. To that end, the Constitution of the United States contained specific provisions that sought to ensure that the institutions which it set up would be protected from unwanted outside interference. The laws and regulations which followed the Constitution reflect this deep-seated aversion to foreign interference.

This session will discuss the historical roots of foreign interference and the foundations put in place to protect domestic institutions from foreign interference. The objective of this session is to unpack the intentions of the founding fathers and to place these intentions and their aversion to foreign interference in the context of contemporary political institutions.

11:00 am 11:30 am Break

11:30 am


12:45 pm


Session 2—Patterns of Disinformation in Domestic and Foreign Elections
Moderator: Professor Mitch Orenstein

Recent elections throughout the world have been subjected to overt and covert foreign interference operations. These operations have been conducted by traditional state actors and by non-state actors who may or may not receive material support or operational direction from a state sponsor. These foreign disinformation campaigns have exploited all domains of political, financial, and societal interaction. Their intent is often to damage and/or destroy the credibility and/or stability of the democratic processes they target. In some of the more notorious instances, it may be argued that these foreign disinformation campaigns have even sought to achieve a particular electoral outcome.

What patterns have emerged within the conduct of foreign disinformation and interference campaigns? The increasing importance of technology, social media, and digital media has changed the face of information warfare, whereby these everyday aspects of modern society act as a force multiplier significantly increasing the ease with which a foreign entity can influence an electoral process. The difference, however, between these modern operations and their predecessors may be less than they are the same. Drawing on the history of foreign interference, what lessons can be applied to current foreign attempts to influence the democratic electoral processes?

12:45 pm 2:00 pm Lunch - Delegates Dining Room

2:00 pm


3:15 pm


Session 3— Cyber-Based Foreign Interference
Moderator: Professor Michael Posner

Cybersecurity and cyberwarfare have become increasingly relevant in recent years.  In democratic elections, attention has focused on a spate of hacking attacks that seek to embarrass and undermine candidates, political parties, and institutions by stealing, manipulating, and releasing damaging material timed with the election cycle. Moreover, state and non-state political actors have taken to social media and digital news media outlets to create and disseminate fictitious or augmented stories intended to drive a particular political or cultural narrative. One could also see these acts as an attempt to electronically disrupt vital infrastructure, when infrastructure is defined widely to include the necessary political infrastructure for a country to function.  In that regard, what we are seeing in democratic elections may represent an exploitation of technology that amounts to an act of war under international law.

This discussion will seek to understand foreign interference in democratic institutions in the context of the existing laws and norms governing international conflict and cybersecurity. One of the major questions at hand is at what point does an act of foreign interference amount to an act of war? Lawyers, politicians, and strategists alike have struggled with this question in the context of deliberate cyberattacks but have been similarly unable to come to a consensus. Is it possible to reconcile existing laws and norms with the advent of cyber-based foreign interference, or will new laws and institutions be required in order to curtail unwanted interference?

3:15 pm 4:00 pm Break
4:00 pm 6:00 pm

Public Keynote Panel—”Foreign Interference in the Democratic Process: Countdown to the Midterms”
Moderator: Trudy Rubin. Panelists: Mr. Clint Watts, Mr. Raymond BakerMr. Shawn Turner, Professor Mitchell Orenstein and other distinguished guests 

This event will take place in the F.M. Kirby Auditorium of the National Constitution Center.  

Click here to access WHYY’s audio recording of the public keynote panel

6:00 pm 7:00 pm Reception - The Monaco Hotel - Rooftop, Vapor Pavillion
7:00 pm 8:30 pm

Participant Dinner - The Monaco Hotel - Lafayette North, Ballroom

Keynote presentation by Dean Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker

Saturday, November 3, 2018

All events will be held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia
8:30 am 9:30 am Sign-In and Continental Breakfast - John C. Bogle Chairman’s Room 

9:30 am


10:45 am


Session 4—Dark Money: Domestic Regulation, Transnational Law Enforcement, and the Political Philosophy Protecting Democratic Processes
Moderator: Professor Eric Orts

A major piece of foreign influence on democratic elections comes through money.  Most countries have laws that prevent foreign entities from contributing to election campaigns.  This is done to ensure that elections reflect domestic preferences and concerns, rather than international geopolitics.  Yet, foreign money continues to be directed toward campaigns in an unregulated fashion.  The expansion of “dark money” in U.S. elections and abroad has made this more prevalent, since the international financial infrastructure creates many opportunities for secretive transfers of funds.  The inability of transnational and domestic law enforcement agencies to root out money laundering has allowed illegal foreign financing to proliferate while potentially having a significant impact on several high-stakes domestic elections.

This session will address the ways in which the impact of dark money in democratic elections may be curtailed or even eliminated through domestic and international law, financial regulations, and comprehensive monitoring. The session will be framed by a discussion of the political philosophy that continues to support the laws and norms put in place to protect the independence of democratic institutions.

10:45 am 11:15 am Break

11:15 am


12:30 pm


Session 5 - The 2018 Midterm Elections: Will They Be Free and Fair?
Moderator: Mr. Shawn Turner

It is the unanimous opinion of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. While there is some debate about Russia’s motives and the extent to which their efforts affected the outcome of the election, there is no debate that foreign adversaries used various means to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. In the two years since the 2016 election, there have been reports that Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea have all taken steps to influence the 2018 midterm elections. 

Since 2016 the government and private sector have taken steps to prevent continued foreign interference in our elections. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees each launched investigations of foreign election interference. In September 2018, the President issued an executive order authorizing sanctions of foreign governments that interfere with U.S. elections. Social media and tech companies have made public disclosures about disinformation campaigns and foreign cyberattacks and have pledged to take a more active role monitoring their platforms for foreign interference.

Has the response of the government and private sector been adequate to protect the integrity of the midterm elections? What additional steps are needed to ensure that future U.S. elections are protected against foreign influence? 

12:30 pm 1:45 pm

Lunch - Bogle Terrace

Keynote Presentation by Professor Richard Harknett

1:45 pm


3:00 pm


Session 6— The Long-term Game: What is the Future of Information Warfare, Political Cyber-Interference and Can Democracy Prevail?
Moderator: Professor Claire Finkelstein

Information warfare is one of the most visible elements of foreign influence campaigns targeting democratic institutions. It is also the oldest. On the one hand, state actors and their state-sponsored clients are responsible for creating and disseminating false or misleading information under the guise of legitimate public discourse or news reporting. These operations may take place on social media, the internet, or even through more traditional mediums. The influence of these operations is exponentially increased when their products are picked up by legitimate news outlets which then rebroadcast or republish information they do not know to be false.

To this end, foreign interference campaigns co-opt the liberal democratic principles of free speech and the freedom of the press to spread their disinformation. On the one hand, democracies are unable to suppress the secondary dissemination of disinformation by their own citizens at the risk of infringing on the individual’s freedom of speech. On the other hand, democracies are similarly unable to suppress the redistribution of disinformation by legitimate news outlets which unwittingly support a foreign actor’s interference operations. The architects of foreign disinformation campaigns are aware of these constraints and endeavor to exploit the very freedoms that democracies enshrine. What methods, if any, can democracies take to prevent or oppose information warfare from unfriendly states?