ADELPHI, Md. - United States European Command and the Maryland National Guard hosted the Adriatic 5+ Cyber Forum at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi from April 24-26. The purpose of the forum is to share the latest in cybersecurity, to start establishing common terms and vocabulary, and to build out a plan to develop the Adriatic Charter countries cyber capabilities.

"We are hoping this is going to energize your ability to be able to tap into the network of friends that you have to be able to develop your cyber roadmaps, to start thinking about cyber in your respective countries, and to start thinking about it in the region and what does it mean," said Maj. Gen. Linda Singh, the adjutant general of Maryland.

Representatives from the Adriatic Charter, an association of southeast European countries, which includes Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia, and Montenegro along with representatives from their respective state partnership program partners from the New Jersey National Guard, Maryland National Guard, Minnesota National Guard, Vermont National Guard, and Maine National Guard attended the three-day conference. Representatives from one of the A-5 observer countries, Kosovo and their SPP partner the Iowa National Guard, as well as the Ohio National Guard were also in attendance.

"It's a priority to help operationalize cyber and put cyber in the same context as other domains," said Col. John Harris, deputy director of the Joint Cyber Center. "We are looking to build capacity and to build interoperability. We also want to leverage this cyber forum to build and increase that capacity."

This forum wasn't just filled with wall-to-wall presentations and speakers.

"This is a collaborative environment," said Brig. Gen. Adam Flasch, director of the Maryland National Guard joint staff. "This is not us just telling anyone what you have to do. If you want to do cyber right the first thing you have to do is have a good architecture, and that means policy."

Lively discussions driven from questions the attendees asked to speakers and to each other occurred throughout the day.

During breakout sessions, SPP partners work together to answer questions and work on building a plan for developing the cyber capabilities in the six counties that were in attendance.

The National Guard SPP helps create the relationships that are necessary for long-term continuity that necessary for this region to continue moving forward, said Kay Myers, USEUSCOM liaison officer to U.S. Cyber Command.

Representatives from Estonia, the MDNG's other state partnership, was also in attendance and presented on their country's experience with cyber, and how they work with USEUCOM and the MDNG. USCYBERCOM sent representatives to present, as well as help guide the small groups in developing their cyber roadmap.

"There is so much that we can learn together, and so much we can do together," said Singh. "I know the power of partnerships."