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Roundtable examines national cyber strategy

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class William Cronin, U.S. Transportation Command, Command, Control, Communications and Cyber Systems Directorate, works on network infrastructure at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, April 25, 2018. USTRANSCOM hosted the fifth Cyber Roundtable involving national-level experts from government, commercial industry, and academia working together to improve on the cyber strategy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Jon Quinlan)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- U.S. Transportation Command continues to be a pathfinder for advancing cyber initiatives by hosting the fifth Cyber Roundtable here May 2, 2018.

National-level experts from government, commercial industry and academia came together to provide their insights on how to identify vulnerabilities, share awareness, and ensure mission and business accomplishment in a cyber-contested environment.

“Cyber defense is more than just security,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Darren W. McDew, USTRANSCOM commander. “For me, it’s mission assurance. It's not just a DOD issue, it's a national issue. From safeguarding our intellectual property to guaranteeing the integrity of our elections, we've got to be all in together."

USTRANSCOM often refers to the commercial transportation industry as its 4th Component. Mission success cannot be achieved without a strong private sector partnership, and one example is the roundtable and the war games conducted between USTRANSCOM and industry.

“I want to applaud most of our industry partners for coming to the table with us regularly to involve themselves in our war games," McDew said. 

This Cyber Roundtable was designed to improve the command’s understanding of adversarial use in cyberspace to degrade USTRANSCOM’s mission, help develop a national cyber defense strategy, and to share situational awareness between government and commercial industry.

"Cyber is not just about some emails, it's about adversaries trying to prevent us from doing our business, " said Richard Balzano, deputy maritime administrator, Department of Transportation. "For us, it's about critical functions and services.  We have a shared responsibility in both the military and the civilian sector to work this out."

The roundtables are one step to work more closely with industry partners, who largely reside and operate outside of the military cyber networks. 

“There are great benefits in sharing cyber security information between industry and the DOD,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Angela Cadwell, director of USTRANSCOM’s Command, Control, Communications and Cyber Systems directorate.  “This shared situational awareness has some hurdles, but also will help us as we work toward well-defined cyber security standards.”

One goal is to assist in the development of National Cyber Standards that can be shared across all departments of government and with the commercial industry. To do this, USTRANSCOM focuses on relationships built with industry and looks at the critical gaps in cyber assurance. 

According to Cadwell, two efforts will help ensure the cyber gaps are closed – first, the command must continue the transition of data and applications into a more resilient and reliable cloud environment, and second, USTRANSCOM must recruit, hire and retain a next-generation workforce who can ensure the command’s systems are safe from future cyber threats.

"We are walking out of here with a much better understanding of the state of play as well as potential initiatives we can work on together to best protect ourselves and share information," said  John Dietrich, president and chief operating officer of Atlas Air Worldwide. "I think the relationships we've established have developed a significant level of trust and confidence. Information sharing should be an ongoing focus in the relationship between government and industry. I think that we can not only become more secure, but also save taxpayer dollars by working together to operate more efficiently."

For more news about U.S. Transportation Command, visit www.ustranscom.com.

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