By Capt. Lisa BeumSeptember 12, 2019
More than 70 public and private professionals joined the Army Cyber Institute at West Point during its recent Jack Voltaic Critical Infrastructure Resilience Workshop in Savannah, Georgia Aug. 28-29.
Cybersecurity has become an ecosystem in which the public and private sectors must work together to ensure safety, and Jack Voltaic is the ACI's focused research on both critical infrastructure and public/private partnerships. It is a local government and industry focused experiment that examines a city's ability to respond to a multi-sector cyber-attack. Currently, ACI is planning for their third iteration: Jack Voltaic 3.0.
"I am amazed at the progress Jack Voltaic, a cyber research project, has made over the last three years, and how it continues to grow and impact Army and Nation readiness," retired Lt. Gen. Rhett Hernandez, West Point Cyber Chair to the Army Cyber Institute, explained.
"Throughout the Jack Voltaic research cycle, we have tried to continually expand our research," Lt. Col. Erica Mitchell, Critical Infrastructure Key Resources team at ACI, said. "We chose Savannah and Charleston for JV3.0 due to their proximity, as well as their ports, which could be used for Department of Defense force projection."
She continued by stating that this iteration is focused on a multi-sector, multi-city response, where we examine the challenges in reacting to an incident that spans multiple municipalities and jurisdictions.
Jack Voltaic is nested within DOD exercises for the first time as part of DEFENDER 2020, where a contested environment will be examined within the continental United States during a force projection situation.
"The cities of Charleston and Savannah have critical infrastructure vitally important to both their community and the military," Lt. Col. Doug Fletcher, CIKR team at ACI, said. "Jack Voltaic provides an opportunity for all involved to examine and analyze the impacts of a multi-sector cyber-attack."
During JV3.0 mid-planning meeting, 3rd Infantry Division planners served in an observer role to better understand the effects of cyberattacks.
"Fort Stewart is the Army's premier power projection platform for the East Coast," Lt. Col. Kyle Duncan, 3rd Infantry Division chief of Plans, said.
"Jack Voltaic 3.0 helps us to better understand how the regional infrastructure we rely on to deploy could be affected by cyber-attacks and how that can impact our ability to rapidly deploy our equipment."
It was not all military at this workshop, though. a large portion of the group came from those critical infrastructure sectors, both from Savannah and Charleston, that are necessary for providing the right feedback to build the scenario for the JV3.0 experiment in 2020.
"I think it's a great opportunity to all get together," Scott Craig, Chatham County Information and Communication Services, said. "We've been able to collaborate with groups that we normally wouldn't, and those partnerships are going to be key for the future attacks that may happen."
He added that, organizations, both public and private, can operate in a vacuum and they need to not operate like that. By the end of the two-day meeting, Craig was pleasantly "surprised" at the outcomes.
"We have a defined action plan and defined what will happen next," Craig stated.
Jack Voltaic 3.0 is currently scheduled to take place in Savannah in early 2020, and ACI hopes to reinforce a "whole-of-nation" approach by providing a learning environment that enables participants to gain exposure, train and assess response rates.