November 20, 2019

CNAS Launches Digital Freedom Forum

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) has announced the launch of the Digital Freedom Forum, part of the CNAS Countering High-Tech Illiberalism project. The Forum will identify solutions to protect digital democracy in the United States and abroad by drawing on a range of perspectives from leaders in government, business, and academia. The Forum will be chaired by former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, former Senator Kelly Ayotte, and former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer Nicole Wong.

“The digital revolution was initially seen as a great liberalizer, but the reality has turned out more complicated,” said CNAS Chief Executive Officer Richard Fontaine. “CNAS' Digital Freedom Forum will take on issues that are both critical and urgent. The bipartisan group of top experts will tackle the challenges posed by high-tech illiberalism, and how government, the private sector and others can work together to combat it."

Co-Chair Secretary Jeh Johnson said, “Digital authoritarianism presents a real threat to the interests and values of the United States and democracies everywhere. As a long-time Board member of CNAS, I am happy to co-chair this bipartisan effort to find solutions to an increasingly urgent problem.”

CNAS is joined in this effort by Google and Twitter alumna Nicole Wong, who also served as the United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer in the Obama administration. “Protecting the integrity of technology for open societies and combating its use for repression is critical,” Wong said. “Democratic governments and their citizens must work together to develop new principles and policies to preserve the promise of technology for a more free and open world.”

Forum members include:

Hon. Jeh Johnson (former Secretary of Homeland Security)
Hon. Kelly Ayotte (former U.S. Senator)
Nicole Wong (former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer; Albright Stonebridge)

Executive Director
Paul Scharre (Center for a New American Security)

Research Director
Kara Frederick (Center for a New American Security)

Tom Bossert (Trinity Cyber, Inc.)
Chris Calabrese (Center for Democracy & Technology)
Dr. David Danks (Carnegie Mellon University)
Renee DiResta (Stanford Internet Observatory)
Richard Fontaine (Center for a New American Security)
Lisa Hayes (Center for Democracy & Technology)
Dr. Andrew Imbrie (Center for Security and Emerging Technology)
Jamil Jaffer (George Mason Law)
Shanthi Kalathil (National Endowment for Democracy)
Elsa B. Kania (Center for a New American Security)
Dr. Mara Karlin (Johns Hopkins University)
Dr. Aynne Kokas (University of Virginia)
Danika Laszuk (Betaworks Camp)
Dr. Chris Meserole (Brookings Institution)
James Murdoch (Co-Founder, Quadrivium Foundation)
Dr. Alina Polyakova (Brookings Institution)
Laura Rosenberger (German Marshall Fund)
Dr. Nadia Schadlow (Hudson Institute)
Dr. Kori Schake (International Institute for Strategic Studies)
Hon. Sarah Sewall (In-Q-Tel)
Raj Shah (

For more information or to schedule an interview with the Forum leaders, contact Cole Stevens at [email protected] or (202) 695-2166.