By Jason B. Cutshaw, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Public AffairsJune 9, 2017
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- A global fight brought people from around the world to the Tennessee Valley in order to learn how to defend against cyberattacks.
The North Alabama Chapter of the Information Systems Security Association, Cyber Huntsville Corporation, Auburn University Research and University of Alabama in Huntsville hosted the ninth annual National Cyber Summit at Huntsville's Von Braun Center June 6-8.
Representing the Team Redstone Cyber Executive Steering Group, or ESG, at the Cyber Summit were Rob Goldsmith, Cyber Integration director, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, and Marcia Holmes, acting director, U. S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center Systems Simulation, Software and Integration Directorate, or AMRDEC S3I.
"The Cyber Summit benefits SMDC/ARSTRAT and Redstone Arsenal by educating our cyber workforce, providing opportunities to network with key cyber stakeholders both locally and outside of Redstone, and getting exposure to cyber technologies and approaches that fill gaps or challenge traditional thinking," Goldsmith said. "It is important to highlight to leaders from the national capital region and other outside locations the fact that Redstone Arsenal and its local partners in the defense industrial base and academia are truly leaders in cyber, particularly with respect to Mission System Cybersecurity and Mission Assurance."
SMDC and AMRDEC gave a presentation describing the Team Redstone Cyber ESG and the recent cyber demonstration that was conducted June 1 at the Redstone Test Center, or RTC, with participation from SMDC, AMRDEC, Program Executive Office Aviation, and RTC. He said the talk oriented the local summit attendees and Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, U.S. Cyber Command chief of staff, to the unprecedented level of cooperation among leading Army organizations at Redstone Arsenal.
"It highlighted how dollars are being invested in cyber to maximize cooperation and minimize duplication," Goldsmith said "It also emphasized the importance of having an environment for organizations to conduct live, virtual and constructive modeling and simulation of systems in a realistic, cyber-contested environment. We must have the ability to execute advanced cyberattacks in a lab environment that simply will never be authorized to perform on critical operational systems.
"The annual National Cyber Summit is a great event for this community in a lot of ways," he added. "I'd like to encourage government leaders to make a point to get behind it and promote participation to their workforce each year. Cyber is a team sport that must include partnering with government, industry and academia in order to protect all of our interests. Redstone Arsenal is a national asset and the cyber summit is a great opportunity to showcase that to the greater cyber community."
Goldsmith emphasized that the cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges our nation faces. He also stated that the Department of Defense has to figure out how to work as a community and leverage the capabilities each organization brings to the table.
"One of the themes of the Summit was the 'Internet of Things,'" Goldsmith said. "I gained a new appreciation for just how much we can expect cyber technologies to become embedded in our everyday lives and the implications that will have both personally and for our military. If we think we face challenges now combatting the ever-evolving, highly creative cyber threat, we haven't seen anything yet.
"As cyberattacks continue to dominate the daily news cycles and impact all of us both at work and at home, it is imperative that we have functions such as the cyber summit to address these tough challenges," he added.
The National Cyber Security Summit is one of the largest events nationally for cyber training, education and workforce development aimed at protecting the nation's infrastructure from an ever-evolving cyber threat.
"The cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges our nation faces," said National Cyber Summit Chair Rodney Robertson. "Cyber security affects nearly every aspect of our lives -- critical infrastructure, banking, healthcare, transportation and more. Our nation's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on how well we manage cybersecurity."
The summit attracts commercial companies; healthcare, automotive and energy industries; academia; DoD organizations; and civilian departments and agencies. Approximately 1,400 people registered for the summit and more than 100 commercial companies, DoD organizations and federal agencies attended the event.
One organization that relies on cyber to accomplish its mission of synchronizing missile defense planning, conducting ballistic missile defense system operations support and advocating for missile defense capabilities in support of U.S. Strategic Command, USSTRATCOM, is the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, or JFCC-IMD.
"From our perspective the summit shows the importance cyber has on the military," said Lt. Col. Stephen R. Treanor, JFCC-IMD J-6. "As a Soldier who is working cyber defense of operational systems, it gives me what's going on in the industry, lets me make contact with people, better know the tools and allows me to know what's going on in the civilian world and how we share a similar mission in protecting against cyber-attacks. On the military side, we are protecting operational systems that are defending America.
"Our job, at JFCC-IMD, is to protect the ballistic missile defensive system," he continued. "With our mission partners at the Missile Defense Agency and at our headquarters at USSTRATCOM we have a combined effort to defend BMDS from outside and from inside. The insider threat is a big one.
"From the integrated missile defense perspective, having the National Cyber Summit close to Redstone Arsenal knowing that there are this many senior-level cyber experts who want to come to Huntsville and give us knowledge we need is invaluable," Treanor added.
Since the summit began in 2008, cyber professionals have converged on the Southeast for training, education and workforce development for an ever-evolving cyber threat. Attendees benefit from educational training sessions, technical and management presentations and keynote speeches from various professionals.