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Dr. J.P. (Jack) London
Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of CACI International Inc
Dr. J.P. (Jack) London's ASYMM 4 Symposium Opening Remarks, 3/2/10
The fourth installment of the symposia series, Dealing with Today's Asymmetric Threat to U.S. and Global Security, Employing Smart Power, was held on Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at the Ft. Myer Officers Club in Arlington, VA. Presented here is CACI Chairman of the Board Jack London's opening remarks.
Thank you, Tom. Good morning and welcome everyone. Two years ago, we got the idea to hold a symposium on the rapidly changing asymmetric threat environment. Since then, we've held three highly successful symposia on these threats to U.S. and global security. Today, we begin a new symposia series focusing on another important issue for our country – Cyber Security.
A few notes up front. First, all of our symposia, including today's, are held as a pro bono, non-promotional, public service. Second, my views here are mine alone and do not necessarily represent those of anyone else here today. Finally, while today's proceedings are "unclassified," all of the dialogue is "off-the-record," and "not for attribution."
That said… "I am here today to stress that, acting independently, neither the U.S. government nor the private sector can fully control or protect the country's information infrastructure." Actually, these are not my words. This statement was made by the Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, exactly one month ago. However, Blair's warning came with reassurance. Quote: "Yet, with increased national attention and investment in cyber security initiatives, I am confident the United States can implement measures to mitigate this negative situation," end quote.
The reality of cyber security today is alarming. As we've grown more accustomed to and dependent on technology, we have also become more vulnerable to it. And our increased interconnectivity has only exacerbated existing security threats around the world.
The U.S. is engaged in armed conflicts in the Global War on Terror. As our troops engage al Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorists on land battlefields, these same groups position themselves on the cyber battlefield – one that reaches onto American soil – to recruit new members and spread their propaganda. For example, would be Christmas bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was recruited from his online postings and communications with known radicals, including Anwar al-Aw-laki (the fundamentalist cleric in Yemen known for having influenced the Ft. Hood shooter, Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan).
Cyber activists in Iran used social networking media to show the world the Iranian government's violent crackdown on protests over last year's disputed national elections. Such domestic unrest only adds to existing dangers from Iran, most notably their nuclear intentions and growing capabilities.
And Russia, known for its offensive posturing, has designed a cyber warfare program to be a force multiplier for military actions. The Russian invasion of Georgia in August 2008 was preceded by a cyber attack one month earlier, bringing down Georgian government, news and banking websites. In 2007, Russia launched a cyber attack on Estonia that paralyzed its entire Internet infrastructure.
And we can't forget China, known for their intensive cyber activities. Just this January, evidence indicated that China was behind a cyber attack that targeted Google and as many as 30 other companies. Of course, Russia and China deny any involvement…
The fact is that cyber security is unlike any threat we have faced before.
A significant challenge is simply identifying the "enemy." Cyber attacks can originate from anyone, anywhere, at any time. This obscurity makes it difficult to determine the source or credibility of a threat. Also unlike traditional warfare, the size of an arsenal is not a deterrent in cyber warfare. The U.S. is considered to have the most powerful cyber capabilities, but it's still a primary target.
But the threat is not limited to government. Companies and financial markets are targeted to steal information and undermine corporate viability. Attacks on supply chains can have wide-ranging and crippling effects. Today, anyone with a network connection is a potential target, making the damage easier to inflict and with greater consequences.
The U.S. has made progress in strengthening cyber security capabilities. Last year, the administration conducted an assessment of federal cyber policies and named a presidential cyber security policy official (Howard Schmidt). In January, Ft. Meade, MD became the home of the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and recommissioned 10th Fleet. Ft. Meade will also house the U.S. Cyber Command, tasked with coordinating computer network defense and direct U.S. cyber attack operations.
And last week, a draft Senate bill was announced that would give the President new emergency powers in the event of a massive, nationwide cyber attack.
But there is still a long way to go. American cyber security still lacks well defined responsibilities and effective decision making below the highest levels of government. And the Bipartisan Policy Center's recent national-level, cyber war game on February 16 called Cyber Shockwave revealed poor cyber-crisis skills (as seen on CNN). There also needs to be better public/private collaboration, as approximately 80-90% of America's critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector.
Collaboration will also have to cross borders. There have been calls for an international framework for governing cyberspace. Such a framework would bolster efforts to track and address cyber threats. Yet cooperation is complicated by the fact some 140 countries have active cyber warfare programs. Among the most active countries are China, Russia, Israel, France, the United Kingdom and the U.S.
So what can be done to improve cyber security? This new symposia series, Cyber Threats to National Security, is being held to contribute to the dialogue on these increasingly important challenges.
We have chosen to start this new series with challenges to the global supply chain. Technology integrates an organization with its end users, partners and suppliers. This includes data sharing, governance and the security of IT systems and software. Vulnerabilities exploited at any point can be to the detriment of everyone along that chain.
So, we definitely have an important topic to discuss today. There was even an interesting opinion piece by former NSA director Mike McConnell in Sunday's Washington Post that said the time to start developing a cohesive cyber security strategy was yesterday. So, we're here to do our part.
I would like to thank our keynote speakers, panelists and moderators for their participation. I also want to thank Ft. Myer and the Officers' Club for hosting this event. My special appreciation goes to Maj. Gen. Tom Wilkerson and his staff at the U.S. Naval Institute for partnering with us in this symposium. Finally, I want to thank everyone at CACI who made our symposium today a reality.
Again, welcome, and have a most productive day! Thank you!
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