WIESBADEN, Germany — More than 200 cybersecurity professionals, foreign military leaders, and industry partners from across the globe converged for the 2023 U.S. Army Europe and Africa cybersecurity summit held in Wiesbaden, Germany, from July 25-27, 2023.
“Our overall goal is to enhance readiness and cybersecurity cooperation by bolstering the knowledge and the interconnection of the nations and the cybersecurity personnel, not just in the Army or at the U.S. European Command or U.S. Africa Command, but also our partner and allied nations,” said Mr. Holvin Galindo, director of cybersecurity for USAEUR-AF.
Lt. Gen. Andrew M. Rohling, deputy commanding general, USAREUR-AF, spoke to summit attendees about global challenges which demands the collective efforts, and cooperation amongst our allies and partners in defense against new threats, new technologies and new vulnerabilities. Exposures which threaten to disrupt and exploit our collective way of life, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
“In this interconnected world, technology allows us to extend beyond our borders rapidly, our challenges and our threats are complex and ever evolving,” said Rohling. “Through collaboration as we're doing today, we can pool our strength, share our insights and collectively develop robust strategies to protect our critical infrastructure, our sensitive data, and most importantly, our citizens from cyberattacks.”
Summit speakers remarked on the Army’s goal to cultivate trust and openness amongst all the nations. Reminding participants that national security concerns, sharing information about cyber threats and weaknesses is essential, and that the digital realm threat to one nation is a threat to us all.
“Cyber capability is about human capability. You can have all of the tools and all of the kind of IT that you want, but ultimately it is about people sitting behind keyboards kind of doing their stuff, whether that's offensive or defensive. And therefore, for me, cyber is still a very human endeavor,” said summit participant, Lt. Col. Peter Hale, United Kingdom Ministry of Defence.
Participants stressed many times that, as allies and partners improve connectivity, the networks must grow even more resilient. Those networks — or networks of networks — are only as strong as their weakest link when it comes to combatting cyber threats.
Organizers stressed cyber weaknesses could come from software operations, key industry partners or human operators. Therefore, collectively understanding how partner nations are approaching cyber defense and making key contacts assists in knowing the digital landscape from a NATO perspective is extremely valuable.
“Our challenges with malign actors in our cyber domain are immense, but they're not insurmountable,” said Rohling. “We can strengthen our collective cyber defenses, safeguard infrastructures, protect our citizens from harm through our cooperation and collaboration.”
Summit participants collaborated on tactics in withstanding malicious players and cyber activity while remaining watchful of ever evolving technological threats that attempt to weaken defenses. Participants engaged in conferences, workshops and training programs on cyber operations landscapes, international security cooperation, risk management and adversary actions designed to empower all nations to enhance cybersecurity capabilities by sharing that knowledge and expertise to build a skilled workforce to respond to cyber threats effectively.
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