Navigating the Future of Cybersecurity and Workforce Development in Government

 

Presented by AFCEA International

Organizing the Cyber Battlespace for Total Awareness


Screenshot 2024-07-10 at 2.18.29 PMWendel "Dell" Foster, Executive Director of Joint Forces Headquarters DoD Information Network (JF HQ DODIN), delves into the intricacies of organizing and defending the cyber battlespace, a dynamic and constantly evolving domain. Foster explains the necessity of recognizing cyberspace as a battleground that requires continuous updates and specialized training for cyber operators to secure and defend effectively. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the cyber terrain, ensuring operators are trained to handle new technologies, and using advanced tools and processes to maintain situational awareness. Foster outlines the challenges of integrating and synchronizing efforts across multiple levels, from strategic operations to tactical execution, to safeguard against evolving cyber threats. This approach underscores the critical role of command relationships and coordination in managing the cyber terrain and ensuring that forces are adequately prepared and equipped to handle the complexities of cyber defense.

Three Key Takeaways:

  1. The ever-changing nature of cyber terrain requires constant updates and training to ensure forces are equipped to defend against new threats.

  2. Utilizing sensors, data aggregation, and analytics, including AI and machine learning, are crucial for maintaining visibility and making informed decisions in the cyber domain.

  3. Standardized training and a clear understanding of the cyber terrain are essential for effective cyber defense operations, from strategic to tactical levels.

 

Building the Cyber Workforce of the Future

Screenshot 2024-07-10 at 2.11.10 PM
Lieutenant General Susan Lawrence (Ret.), President and CEO of AFCEA International, discusses the pressing need for a collaborative approach between government, industry, and academia to build a strong cyber workforce. Lawrence highlights the critical role of engaging students in STEM education at an early age, showcasing initiatives like the Signal Kids Magazine, written by young students about technology and its impact on their world. Additionally, AFCEA has invested significantly in STEM scholarships and teacher grants, emphasizing the importance of educational support in developing future cyber professionals. Lawrence stresses the necessity of partnerships with academic institutions to ensure a steady pipeline of skilled individuals entering the cybersecurity field. She also underscores the pivotal role of industry collaboration in accelerating technological advancements, stressing that winning the technological race against adversaries requires a united effort from both government and industry partners.

Three Key Takeaways:

  1. Initiatives like Signal Kids Magazine and STEM scholarships are designed to inspire and educate young students about technology and cybersecurity.

  2. Collaboration between government, academia, and industry is crucial for addressing the cyber workforce shortage and advancing technological capabilities.

  3. Providing financial support and resources to students and educators helps to cultivate a skilled and prepared cyber workforce.

 

Navigating the Zero Trust Journey at HHS

Screenshot 2024-07-10 at 2.02.17 PMLa Monte Yarborough, Chief Information Security Officer at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), discusses the agency's commitment to addressing the challenges of implementing a zero trust architecture. Yarborough emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and tackling challenges head-on to ensure a successful transition to zero trust principles. He highlights the complexities of managing a large, federated agency where different operational divisions may be at varying levels of zero trust maturity. Yarborough outlines the collaborative efforts within HHS, including the formation of a CISO Council and a zero trust working group, to share insights and scar tissue, enabling more informed decision-making and progress across the agency. He also addresses the resource constraints, cultural shifts, and legacy system challenges that need to be overcome to achieve a robust zero trust architecture. The focus is on fostering a culture of collaboration, ensuring stakeholder buy-in, and maintaining a user-centric approach to enhance the security posture of HHS.

Three Key Takeaways:

  1. Coordinating efforts across HHS's various operational divisions is essential for a unified and effective zero trust strategy.

  2. Balancing the need to modernize while maintaining critical legacy systems requires careful planning and resource allocation.

  3. Encouraging buy-in and collaboration among all stakeholders is vital for overcoming resistance and ensuring the successful implementation of zero trust principles.


 

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