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Cynthia E. Ayers

Task Force on National and Homeland Security

Areas of Expertise:

Cynthia Ayers was recently appointed Director (Deputy to the Executive Director) of the newly established Task Force on National and Homeland Security. The focus of the task force is on the national security implications of catastrophic infrastructure failure. Their mission is to advise Congress on measures that could be taken to mitigate the threat and ensure our country’s ability to survive in a “grid-down” environment.

Ms. Ayers retired from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2011 with over 38 years of government service, and was subsequently appointed Vice President of EMPact America, a bipartisan, not-for-profit group charged with informing Americans about the potential threat from electromagnetic pulse (EMP - nuclear or solar), and advocating for the reestablishment of the Congressional EMP Commission as well as for legislation to protect the electric grid. In that capacity, she met with a wide variety of individuals, organizations, and members of Congress to explain the threat from and the potential consequences of a catastrophic failure of critical electric infrastructure.

Her intelligence community career included a position as an NSA Representative to the DCI’s Counterterrorism Center, where she worked throughout the attacks on the USS Cole and the attacks of 9/11 (2000-2002). Her service culminated in an eight-year assignment to the Center for Strategic Leadership as the National Security Agency’s Visiting Professor to the U.S. Army War College (USAWC). While at the USAWC, Professor Ayers taught electives on contemporary threats to national security from an intelligence perspective, and advised students on research concerning strategic intelligence, counterterrorism, cyberwarfare, the Middle East and critical infrastructure protection. She has written several published articles on national security issues and participated as both guest and co-host in radio broadcasts.

Ms. Ayers is also a Fellow with the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, Sr. Fellow with the Critical Infrastructure Defense Consortium and member of the FBI InfraGard EMP Special Interest Group (SIG).