Cynthia E. Ayers

Cynthia Ayers serves as Deputy to the Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security. Ms. Ayers is a national security threat analyst and consultant, having retired from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2011 with over 38 years of military and civil service (combined). Her intelligence community career included a position as NSA Representative to the DCI’s Counterterrorism Center at CIA headquarters, where she worked throughout the attack on the USS Cole and the 9/11 crisis (2000-2002). Her government service culminated in an eight-year assignment as the National Security Agency’s Visiting Professor to the U.S. Army War College (USAWC), where she taught electives on contemporary threats to national security from an intelligence perspective (cyber warfare, terrorism, etc.) as well as military applications of artificial intelligence. She advised students on research concerning strategic intelligence, counterterrorism, cyber warfare, and critical infrastructure protection.

Post-retirement, Ms. Ayers was employed as Vice President of EMPact America, a bipartisan, not-for-profit group working in support of electric grid vulnerability mitigation. More recently, she worked as a temporary, part-time research assistant with George Mason University’s Learning Agent Center on a grant concerning artificial intelligence-based systems. She is currently working as an independent cyberwarfare consultant within the Strategic Concepts and Doctrine Division of the Center for Strategic Leadership, U.S. Army War College.

Ms. Ayers has provided a plethora of briefings and presentations on critical infrastructure issues at organizational gatherings, conferences, and workshops to members of the non-profit sector, government entities, and interested groups within academic institutions. She has testified before the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defense; the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology of the Maine State Legislature; the Energy Policy Committee of the Michigan State Legislature; members of Indiana’s State Legislature, and the reestablished Congressional EMP Commission.

Ms. Ayers has written several published articles on critical infrastructure and national security issues, a monograph on cyber sovereignty (Rethinking Sovereignty in the Context of Cyberspace), and co-authored academic papers on the development of cognitive agents for intelligence analysis.