WEST POINT, N.Y. -- The Army Cyber Institute, in conjunction with Palo Alto Networks, hosted the inaugural Joint Service Academy Cyber Security Summit at West Point, N.Y., May 13-14. The summit brought together more than 100 leading information security space representatives from various backgrounds, including all four military service academies, the Department of Defense, civilian industry and academia.
Col. Greg Conti, director of the Army Cyber Institute, opened by saying, "I truly believe that we are living in historic times … cyber security and cyber operations really present a critical national threat, and many would argue a potential existential threat to our country and our way of life."
The overall goal of the summit is to strengthen the tie between industry and government organizations, to better secure the Internet, share best practices and foster stakeholder partnerships to defend and defeat threats facing the nation.
"No organization, no government has the resources to solve or address this problem alone, and that's why we're here today," said Conti. "The solution truly relies on a whole nation approach that brings together the best minds and the best thinking across all the sectors, to seek actionable solutions to protect our democracy while preserving our freedoms and our way of life."
The summit included three panel discussions and several keynote speakers who touched on the cyber challenges they face not only in their organizations, but moreover as the guardians of cyber attacks against their organizations.
"Security (cyber) is a policy issue and it's also a technology issue. You don't make big decisions anymore … without thinking about security (cyber), "said Mark McLaughlin, chairman of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.
"We need to have a high degree of prevention, that's where our mindset has to be," said McLaughlin. "We know we can't prevent everything, but that's where we have to get to, that end state, which is the number of successful attacks goes down dramatically."
Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command and Director of the National Security Agency, U.S. Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers, spoke about the need for creating partnerships and how a teamwork method will assist the United States in combating cyber attacks.
"What we see before us today is a microcosm of a key to success for the future. It's about how do we bring together a wide, disparate group of individuals, expertise, backgrounds and roles, to generate increased cyber security for the nation," Rogers said.
"It's (referring to partnerships) how do we take the capabilities, knowledge, and insight that a broad group of organizations and people can bring to this problem set, and how do we align them in a way that truly generates benefit and outcomes for both sides of the partnership," Rogers added. "This can't just be about providing value to the government to generate better outcomes and it can't be just we're here to help you from a business perspective to generate better outcomes, it's how can we do this together."
By bringing both military and civilian cyber leaders together, the summit helped identify the main problem areas facing the nation in cyber security, while also identifying who the right individuals are to address those areas.
The Joint Service Academy Cyber Security Summit will be held again in 2016 and discussions are currently ongoing as to where and when the event will take place.