The Potomac Officers Club hosted the 2019 Cybersecurity Summit on Wednesday to join GovCon leaders from the public and private sectors to discuss new cyber programs, initiatives technologies and ways that both sectors can better collaborate to achieve common goals.
Following an enlightening keynote address from David Luber, executive director of the United States Cyber Command, an expert panel made of representatives from the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy took the stage to address cyber resiliency, which is the science of creating plans, program, technologies, designs and protocols to address threats and maintain mission assurance and enterprise resilience.
During the panel discussion, Lt. Col. David Canady, deputy division chief for Operations, Directorate of Cyberspace and Information Dominance, described cyberspace as the virtual oxygen that fuels AF ability to carry out its mission. He explained that the Air Force hasnât Â made any major strategic shifts, but itâs given the service the opportunity to restructure itself.
âWe recognize thatâs always a gap between what was relevant and what was the best practice at the time, said Lt. Col. Canady. âChasing our vulnerabilities isnât necessarily the best approach in that weâre building the best seats to compliment that and look into tactics, procedures and take a more integrated approach moving forward.â
In addition, Captain Donovan OubrÃ© explained that the Navyâs utmost importance is to maintain its networks and be capable of reconstituting them as needed. During his remarks, Capt. OubrÃ© was adamant about toughness being the key. âWe need to be able to take a punch and adapt accordingly,â he said. âTake the hit and keep on going. Weâre never out of the fight.â
Capt. OubrÃ© also stressed that we learn the most by studying ourselves. He mentioned Operation Blackbeard as an example where the Navy committed a cyber attack against itself to find the vulnerabilities that needed to be addressed. At the time, the Navyâs ships werenât designed to fight against cyber. Capt. OubrÃ© described the entire exercise as a massive learning experience.
Col. Todd Sabala warned the audience that the current state of technology is that you can only surprise an adversary with a tool once before they can adapt to what you have. Col. Sabala was insistent during the panel that weâre moving away from kinetic military action and weâre now moving into information warfare. He thinks itâs crucial to put ourselves in our adversariesâ seat.
Col. Sabala also addressed some challenges facing the Army implementing cyber capabilities for the service. For instance, many of the weapons still in use were designed in the 1980âs and cyber wasnât a threat at that time. Sabala argued that we need to set up the process of information up the chain of command in order to effectively compete against our adversaries long-term.