By By Greg Mahall (CECOM) Public AffairsFebruary 8, 2016
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland -- January 27, 2016. Elements of Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) played host to various federal, state, and local officials as well as industry partners in a wide-ranging information event designed to provide context and awareness of the APG community's role in support and innovation for the ongoing and evolving Cyber force.
The event was hosted by Maj. Gen. Bruce T. Crawford, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) and Senior Commander. APG members from around the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Center of Excellence included CECOM; the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CRDEC); the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL): the Program Executive Office -- Command, Control, Communications -- Tactical (PEO C3T); the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity (AMSAA); and the Program Executive Officer for Intelligence Electronic Warfare & Sensors (PEO IEW&S). In addition, the Deputy to the commanding General, U. S. Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(AL&T)) were represented, bringing together multiple Army Cyber elements from Ft. Belvoir, Virginia; Washington, D.C; and Adelphi, Maryland.
Representatives from offices external to APG included members from U.S. Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger's office; the office of local Maryland delegate Mary Ann Lisanti; the Maryland Office of Military Affairs; the Maryland Department of Commerce; the Office of Military and Federal Affairs within the Maryland Department of Commerce; the Harford County Office of Economic Development; the Harford County Chamber of Commerce; representatives from the Chesapeake Science and Security Corridor; Women in Defense, Mid-Atlantic Chapter; the APG Army Alliance and members of the Fort Meade Alliance were also in attendance.
"Today is not an end but a beginning," said Crawford in welcoming the group to APG. "I want folks to walk away today knowing what Team APG does for cyber --- for Army cyber, Joint Forces cyber, and for the country as a whole as it pertains to cyber.
"Let's create some collaborations for what we have here and where we need to go. Readiness is the Number One priority for the Army as stated by our Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. Readiness means we need to prepare our troops, to modernize our folks and to take care of them. All that comes with readiness. There are many facets and aspects of readiness and this installation does a lot of things to accomplish readiness for this nation," Crawford said.
Ronald Pontius, Deputy to the Commanding General of ARCYBER, also stressed collaboration and cooperation in his welcoming remarks.
"The collaboration and partnership between ARCYBER and APG is intense," Pontius said. "ARCYBER is both a partner and a customer to APG. Today is all about a teamwork approach to addressing military needs. What we can do in terms of partnering to assure the best product for our nation.
The session, occupying a better half of one day, moved from opening remarks and greetings, to breakdowns of the APG Army Cyber mission and the area of Innovative Cyber Acquisition as explained by Col. Joseph Dupont, ASA(AL&T)'s Cyber Focal point in the Pentagon.
"What you must realize is that the Army must be an offensive force in cyber," Dupont said. "The Army has to be able to operate in cyberspace, both offensively and defensively. With PEO C3T and PEO IEW&S here at APG for example, this is a valuable demonstration of how the Army collectively engages in analyzing, developing, acquiring, testing and eventually maintaining all the systems that allow the Army to wage cyber warfare."
The bulk of the late-morning session involved laboratory tours of APG facilities, such as the C4ISR Integration Lab, the Software Assurance Lab, the Information Operations Cyber Lab, and the High Fidelity (Hi-Fi) Lab. Closing remarks and comments were then done over a working lunch with discussions on the path forward focusing on the overall education effort being staged as a total team effort.
Justin Brower, representing Congressman Ruppersberger said the day was eye opening.
"II have never been acutely aware of things APG Cyber as I am today," said Brower. "This was a great forum for establishing situational awareness on what goes on here. Events like these make Mr. Ruppersberger and other public representatives aware of all that happens here and how we can showcase APG's efforts in national security issues. What I have seen here is a lot of hard and necessary work being done by unsung heroes in keeping our nation safe."
Taylor Kasky, representing local Maryland Delegate Lisanti said her day was "extremely interesting."
"For me this was an incredible event," Kasky said. "This is going to allow me to create personal relationships and most importantly take situational awareness back to Ms. Lisanti who, because of her role on Maryland's Cyber Committee, can then take that back to the state level and assist APG efforts wherever possible."
A key component to the future path of cyber at APG was workforce development. As noted by CECOM Deputy to the Commanding General Larry Muzzelo, 35 percent of the current APG workforce is either retirement eligible or will become such in the next three to five years. "We have to make an investment in our youth right now to cultivate the future and ensure continued success," Muzzelo said. "That success is needed not only here at APG, but across our Army and for our nation. This entire corridor, from Fort Belvoir, through D.C. and Adelphi and Fort Meade, up to APG, has benefitted from having this technology base here and we need to maintain that going forward."
Lisa Swoboda, of the Maryland Office of Military Affairs, seconded a collaborative effort between government, industry and academia as needed.
"We all need to contribute to the effort," she said. "I hope the folks present today got a better understanding of the capabilities and resourcing needs here at APG to help us be able to promote the work being done here and get a deeper understanding of the cyber spectrum which APG is a central part of in the whole DoD effort."
Karen Holt, of the Harford County Office of Economic Development, said today's tour "kept demonstrating how complex work gets done here, work that rests on a diversity of individuals. It emphasizes the collaborative needs required of all of us to keep APG relevant and vital."
Maj. Gen. Crawford ended the day, discussing follow-up efforts needed on both an internal and external APG basis.
"This is an unprecedented partnering effort," Crawford said. "The plan should be to take what we have learned here, what we have started here and get that information flowing onward, upward and forward. We need to get organized and then address issues like education and workforce development, cyber operations and incident responses, critical infrastructure and expertise, and of course economic development.
"I look forward to us moving out on those goals."
A follow-up date and future meetings were discussed. Plans are still forming to meet those ends.