F A C U L T Y  -  D R .   D O U G L A S   M E R R I L L

Dr. Douglas C. Merrill is an internationally recognized authority in Information Warfare and computer security. He has advised many governmental agencies and Fortune 500 corporations. Among others, he has consulted to the Office of the President of the United States, senior Pentagon officials, and government-led committees of major telecommunications providers.

On the academic level, he has a doctorate degree from Princeton University in Cognitive Science. He has additional university degrees in computer science, economics, and sociology. In his student days, he was an accomplished "cracker," actually penetrating systems to identify (and repair) security holes and design flaws. His seminar is intended to give participants both a "hands-on" technical understanding of security issues, but also the policy perspective needed by more senior management.

He is currently an Information Scientist at the RAND Corporation, a not-for-profit research institution specializing in public policy research. RAND has been a trusted advisor to high-level governmental and military officials for 50 years, providing objective analysis of issues in education, economic growth, health care, criminal and social justice and military and defense matters. RAND is the institution for which the term "think tank" was coined and is the source of many of the leading developments of the twentieth century, including complex mathematics such as queuing theory, computational techniques including packet switching and the ARPAnet (later to become the Internet).

Dr. Merrill has recently been appointed as Lead Consultant on a project for the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Office of the President of the United States to identify vulnerabilities in the civilian infrastructure that could be employed by hostile forces to affect U.S. policy or military readiness. The project includes a detailed assessments of security practices by a variety of different corporations and industries.

Among his Pentagon advisees have been several 2 and 3 star General officers in areas ranging from Training and Doctrine commands to Information Systems Security groups to the Intelligence community. His work has spanned the spectrum from vulnerability assessments to training materials for system administrators and others concerned with operational security. For example, he has been involved in a project to assess operational impacts of information warfare attacks on the U.S. Air Force. To this end, he has conducted a detailed vulnerability analysis of information systems involved in deployment and sustainment of USAF personnel.

Dr. Merrill was an invited speaker to the National Communications System and to the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, a government-led association of major telecommunications carriers, such as AT&T, MCI, and Sprint. In these talks, he presented potential vulnerabilities in aspects of the public switched telephone network that underlies most, if not all, modern information technology.

Douglas Merrill also serves as Special Assistant for Technology to the newly formed "Science and Technology Division" of the RAND Corporation. RAND has been a leader in public-policy research for 50 years, and in fact was the institution for which the term "think tank" was coined. RAND analysts have addressed issues in education, economic growth, health care, criminal justice, social justice, and military topics. RAND also has a presence overseas, through its Center for Asia-Pacific Policy, the Greater Middle East Studies Center, and the European-American Center. Many of the leading technical developments of the twentieth century were developed at RAND, including complex mathematics such as queuing theory, and computational techniques, including packet-switched networking and the ARPAnet (later to become the Internet).

Over the past few years, more and more public policy decisions are being made not by governments, but by business and industry. RAND has decided that to continue its mission as the premier public policy research center, it must reach out to the private sector, to this new brand of policy decision-maker. The Science and Technology division is RAND’s mechanism for doing so. Dr. Merrill’s role is to focus on studying technical trends in international industry and also to develop computer security techniques tailored to their needs. He is leading efforts to apply RAND’s governmental expertise to large health-care providers and insurance firms, as well as other data-intensive corporations.

Dr. Merrill’s vast experience has led to a very "hands on" approach --- placing the theoretical aspects of his topic in an applied context so that students and colleagues alike can learn how to use the tools described, in addition to simply understanding them. His informal, interactive communication style makes it easier for listeners to capture the material and ask questions when needed. As this might suggest, Dr. Merrill is also a highly sought-after university lecturer, giving popular classes on topics such as software engineering, computer-human interface design, artificial intelligence, educational technology design and evaluation, and statistical methods.


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