Friday, April 1, 2011

CyberFutures - Day One

Cybersecurity is a vital role in not just national defense, but countless other divisions. The first day of AFA’s inaugural CyberFutures Conference was a great success as we explored the newest domain with a remarkable line-up of speakers representing government, military, industry and academia.

We started the day off with Gordon Snow, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Cyber Division, as he outlined the FBI‘s cyber mission and joint agency efforts. Snow’s division pursues cyber terrorists and national, state and criminal threats. He made the goal of the FBI’s Cyber Division clear: Make investigations proactive, then predictive, then preventive.

Maj Gen Ronnie Hawkins, Vice Director of Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) followed, focusing on strategies for strengthening national cyber security – specifically looking at the human perspective.

“All of us operate on a cyber network, all of us are connected, and all of us are at risk.”
Gen Hawkins’ focus: we must be proactive and preventative.

The CyberPatriot panel gave a great presentation, outlining the many great advantages of experiental learning in an exciting environment, as well as the need for more students to be involved in STEM fields.

CyberPatriot is the premier national cyber defense high school competition that is changing the way teenagers view cybersecurity. It gives them hands-on experience in cyber defense while giving them the opportunity to compete against their peers in an exciting environment.

“We want to open this up to every kid…even starting at the elementary level. We need a pathway to get people into this field,” said Natalie Granado, Associate Director of Training for CIAS, UTSA.

Diane Miller, Director of Operations of Cybersecurity Group for Northrop Grumman, expanded on the industry role in furthering the role of cybersecurity in today’s youth. This program offer technical training in skills that are valuable to where careers are available. Through industry volunteerism, participating in CyberPatriot helps strengthen the future cyber defense workforce and encourage students to explore careers in cybersecurity.

Our exhibit hall includes the latest in cyber technology from industry leaders such as Generay dynamics, Raytheon, Boeing Company, Center for Cyberspace Research, CIAS, SAIC and the Air Force Research Institute.

The afternoon portion of Day One had Greg Schaffer of the Department of Homeland Security speak on the national strategic challenge. Martin Libicki, senior management scientist at RAND Corporation, with an extensive background on the impacts of information technology on domestic and national security, defined cyber deterrence and cyberwar and the biggest challenges associated with each.

Melissa Hathaway, senior advisor at Harvard Kennedy Schools Belfer Center, identified challenges in defending the enterprise, asking the question: Should Internet providers be held to higher security standards as essential communications?

We had another panel looking at the industrial approach to dealing with cyber defense and closed with author/constultant Winn Scwartau, who illuminated the potential danger of smart phones. Biggest threat to mobile phones: The half a million apps available with very little security measures, says Schwartau.

And that was all in the first day! We are excited to start DAY TWO now!

Make sure you follow us on Twitter @AirForceAssoc to get updates throughout the conference!

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