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Event Coverage

Government, Industry Network at TechNet International 2014

July 1, 2014
By Mandy Rizzo

Cyber, defense technology, coalition interoperability, NATO contracting opportunities and Ukraine were among the topics discussed at the NATO Industry Conference and TechNet International 2014, held in Bucharest, Romania. For the third time, the NATO Communications and Information Agency and AFCEA Europe organized a joint conference and exposition. The two organizations generated a program with an agenda of truly intertwined sessions relevant to all.

Romania was the host nation of this event, and the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency and AFCEA Europe benefited from direct support from the Romania Ministry of Defense. This year also marked the 10th anniversary of Romania’s accession to NATO. The level of the conference and access to special venues, as well as the presence of high-ranking officials, could not have been attained without the ministry’s generous support.

A major element of this event was its networking opportunities. More than 30 representatives from the NCI Agency explained contracting opportunities with NATO during breakout sessions and basic ordering agreement (BOA) processes in the dedicated BOA’s meeting room as well as during the entire conference. The exposition featured 34 exhibitors participating in the conference, focusing on the theme “From Assets to Services—Capability Delivery in the 21st Century.” Having officials speaking directly with industry representatives on a one-on-one basis and answering real-life situational questions that address their particular questions and challenges turned out to be key to the event.

Necessity Drives Joint Information Environment

July 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The shrinking military cannot achieve mission success without the advances promised by the Joint Information Environment, U.S. Defense Department leaders say. Yet the effort itself depends on innovative advances that may lead to changes in doctrine and operations if—and when—they are incorporated into the force.

No clear technology or architecture has emerged to define the JIE. While the military has a goal in mind, it also recognizes that information technologies and capabilities are evolving faster than planners can predict. The commercial sector, which could serve as a fount of ideas for defense networking, itself is structuring its strategies to accommodate unforeseen changes. Different parts of the defense and intelligence communities have their own nonnegotiable requirements for JIE participation.

Different organizations and disciplines strive to break down silos and give the Defense Department its JIE. Leading defense communicators agree that the force cannot prevail in future operations without a single information environment, but they must ensure that it does not ignore the specific needs of some individual elements within the defense community.

Many of these issues were discussed at AFCEA’s three-day JIE Mission Partner Symposium held May 12-14 in Baltimore. Overflow crowds heard speakers and panelists from government, the military and industry discuss the need for the JIE and the challenges that stand in the way of its implementation.

U.S. military forces will not be able to pursue operational goals successfully unless the JIE is implemented, according to a member of the Joint Staff. Lt. Gen. Mark S. Bowman, J-6, The Joint Staff, was unambiguous in his assessment of the JIE’s importance.

Cyber Not Ready for Service Designation

June 25, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The growing call for an independent U.S. cyber service along the lines of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps is not likely to gain followers among policy makers, say a number of service cyber officers.

Different Circumstances, Different Approaches Define Cybersecurity Thrust

June 25, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

No single solution, no single course of action, no single training regimen exists for combating cybermarauders on the Internet. Cyber officials are striving to establish guidelines for cybersecurity, yet they acknowledge that every organization in every nation has varying needs and must pursue different tracks to achieve what they determine is effective cybersecurity.

Defense Department Looks for Youth Movement in Cyber

June 25, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The acting chief information officer (CIO) for the U.S. Defense Department is promoting a diversity movement for information technology. He wants to see a younger work force that includes people who have come of age in the digital era.

Defense Networking Goes Commercial

June 25, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

U.S. Defense Department data will be invading the commercial world as the department moves its unclassified information out of its own hands. Terry Halvorsen, acting Defense Department chief information officer, described the upcoming move at the AFCEA Cyber Symposium.

Defense Networks Can Expect Minimum Security

June 25, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

U.S. Defense Department networks will need to operate with the minimum security available as connectivity and the threat picture evolve, said a top defense official. Terry Halvorsen, acting Defense Department chief information officer, minced no words as he described how tight budgets are limiting options across the board.

Estonia Builds on Lessons Learned After Cyber Attack

June 25, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Estonia has established a dedicated cyberdefense infrastructure and implemented new policies that are serving as models for other allied nations gearing up for potential cyber attacks. The Estonian measures come in the wake of the Baltic nation undergoing a severe cyber attack in 2007.

Partnerships, Training Build NATO Cyberspace Policy

June 25, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Encountering many variables as it strives to achieve effective cybersecurity, NATO is focusing on two long-standing constants to move forward: training and partnerships with industry. The Atlantic alliance is seeking industry help in pursuing solutions, and it is adopting many traditional methods and institutions to train personnel in vital cyberskills.

Focus on Critical Services, Not Infrastructure, to Defend Cyberspace

June 25, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Defenders of cyberspace need to concentrate on the critical services provided by the critical infrastructure, not the infrastructure itself, according to a leading cyber expert. Melissa Hathaway, president of Hathaway Global Strategies and former acting senior director for cyberspace with the National Security Council, said that the future of the West is held hostage to the fact that its security and resilience are threatened.

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