Jessica Malekos Smith

Reuben Everett Cyber Scholar


Jessica ‘Zhanna’ Malekos Smith joined the Duke Center on Law & Technology (DCLT) and the Center on Law, Ethics, and National Security (LENS) in fall 2018 as the Law School’s inaugural Reuben Everett Cyber Scholar. She assumed the yearlong joint appointment after serving as an attorney in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Air Force, where she held the rank of captain at Hurlburt Field in Florida.

Prior to military service, she was a post-doctoral fellow in the Cyber Security Project at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She writes in the areas of cybersecurity, international law, international security and defense, and science and technology.

Malekos Smith has presented her research at DEF CON, RSA, ShmooCon, the Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Affairs, and SC Media, among others.

Her publications include: “Ethics for the AI-enabled warfighter — the human 'Warrior-in-the-Design'” The Hill (2019), “Swinging a Fist in Cyberspace,” Houston Law Review: Off the Record, Volume 9, Issue 1 (2018); “Imagining a Killer Robot’s First Words,” Harvard Kennedy School Review (2018); “What Alexander Hamilton Can Teach us About Cyber Policy,” Defense One (2018); and “The Great Cyber Solarium Dialogue,” The Cipher Brief (2018).

Her article, “The Beginner’s Guide to the Musical Scales of Cyberwar” was a finalist article in the Small Wars Journal and Military Writer’s Guild Writing Contest (2017) and mentioned on KGO-810 AM Radio, the John Rothmann Show (Jan. 6, 2017). Additionally, her 2017 article “The Information Doppelgänger in Warfare” with King’s College London Strife, was mentioned in the Global Policy Journal, and her 2016 article “Attribution from Behind the Veil of Ignorance” with The National Interest was presented as a guest lecture to the U.S. Air Force’s 39th Information Operations Squadron.

Malekos Smith earned her BA in Russian and international relations at Wellesley College, where she was a fellow of the Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Affairs; in 2013 she received her commission from the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT she worked as an undergraduate student research assistant on cyber international relations for Political Science Professor Nazli Choucri. She received her JD from the University of California, Davis School of Law, where she pursued a self-concentration in cyber law and worked as a graduate student research assistant for Computer Science Professor Matthew Bishop. She is finishing her MA with the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.