Emerging Policy

4/24/2015: U.S. Coast Guard Academy hosts cyber symposium

Last month, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy held a cyber symposium to examine the many facets of the cyber domain, accentuate the importance of a strategic approach to establishing cybersecurity and resiliency and explore the future challenges and opportunities in this dynamic arena. Presenters included senior Coast Guard leadership and members of government, academia and private sector. The following is a short synopsis of Coast Guard presented information.

Written by Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Benin

The Academy’s Superintendent, Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz, kicked off the symposium and provided a broad contextual framework that guided the day’s course. Vice Adm. Charles Michel, the Coast Guard’s deputy commandant for operations then delivered the opening keynote address and provided an update on the service’s cyber strategy with renewed emphasis on the seven cross-cutting factors that are and will remain necessary for success in cyberspace .

A common theme throughout the symposium was the importance of human networks and a workforce that is fully cyber-aware and contains cyber specialists. In addition to Michel, this was stressed by Dan Butler, the Coast Guard’s deputy assistant commandant for intelligence and criminal investigations and Rear Adm. Kevin Lunday, director of exercises and training of U.S. Coast Guard’s Cyber Command.

During the symposium’s closing panel, Rear Adm. Marshall Lytle highlighted the importance of cyber through four means: awareness, operations, acquisitions and workforce. He described the progression from contact, communication, awareness, understanding, sacrifice, trust, to unified action necessary in any space, including cyberspace. Lunday emphasized that information is a capital asset, that the most important factor in cyber is the carbon element – people – and that the maritime industry is, and has always been, a dangerous and unforgiving environment.

The symposium was fitting and timely in light of a new initiative at the Coast Guard Academy that will raise awareness among cadets of the importance of maintaining cybersecurity. In consultation with Coast Guard Cyber Command, the Academy is developing a new cyber defense awareness training module for cadets to take part in during their second class summer. Cadets will be trained in cybersecurity issues and will also be exposed to live malware and experience the effects of poor cyber hygiene in a safe and segregated network environment.

The symposium closed with final remarks delivered by the Academy’s Dean of Academics, Kurt Colella, who encouraged all those present to continue the dialogue and relationships formed over the day as we all work to a more secure and resilient future. He ended with optimism based upon the students at the Academy and beyond who demonstrate a commitment to service and willingness to make personal sacrifices to solve today and tomorrow’s problems.

Overall, the symposium was a great success in bringing people together from many backgrounds, roles and interests. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy looks forward to playing a significant role in the formation of future Coast Guard and national leaders of cyberspace.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.