• Rear Adm. Christian Becker, USN, commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), discusses the defense industry’s role executing the Chief of Naval Operations “A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority 2.0” during a combined AFCEA and NDIA event. SPAWAR works closely with industry to provide the tactical networks, space systems and C4ISR technology assets and services U.S. Navy fleet operators require. U.S. Navy photo by Rick Naystatt/Released
     Rear Adm. Christian Becker, USN, commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), discusses the defense industry’s role executing the Chief of Naval Operations “A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority 2.0” during a combined AFCEA and NDIA event. SPAWAR works closely with industry to provide the tactical networks, space systems and C4ISR technology assets and services U.S. Navy fleet operators require. U.S. Navy photo by Rick Naystatt/Released
  • While on active duty as deputy commandant of mission support for the U.S. Coast Guard, Vice Adm. Sandra Stosz, USCG (Ret.), spoke with attendees at the 2017 AFCEA Homeland Security Conference. Photo by Mike Carpenter
     While on active duty as deputy commandant of mission support for the U.S. Coast Guard, Vice Adm. Sandra Stosz, USCG (Ret.), spoke with attendees at the 2017 AFCEA Homeland Security Conference. Photo by Mike Carpenter
  • Conferences offer members of the private and public sectors to meet face-to-face to discuss opportunities and solutions while building trust. Photo by Mike Carpenter
     Conferences offer members of the private and public sectors to meet face-to-face to discuss opportunities and solutions while building trust. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Collaboration Can Curb Adversarial Threats

April 17, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
E-mail About the Author

As a weapon, private-public partnerships demonstrate strength in numbers.


Threats to U.S. homeland security are more numerous, more complex and evolving more rapidly. This accelerated threat environment is enabled in great part by emerging technology that has emboldened adversaries to doggedly evade defensive barriers.

Defeating these hostile threat attempts depends on building effective private-public partnerships, says John M. Kreger, vice president, public sector programs, Center for Programs and Technology, The MITRE Corporation. “Successful private-public partnerships can enhance the technological impact and achieve efficiencies to help further our homeland security mission,” he states.

Kreger explains connections must be established not only between organizations but also across agencies, states and critical infrastructure owners and operators. Sharing information will ensure the coordination of threat-related advisories and materials that are designed to safeguard critical sectors and infrastructure, he relates.

“To foster private-public partnerships, we [first] need to work together and overcome obstacles such as regulatory and policy constraints as well as challenging contract and procurement requirements,” he says.

One reason quick coordination among organizations is crucial is that, like allies, adversaries are increasingly using emerging capabilities such as artificial intelligence and machine learning as part of their strategies and subversive attacks.

For example, deepfake creates realistic depictions of situations that never occurred by employing deep learning algorithms and almost seamlessly mapping target images, video or audio content into other media content, Kreger observes. “For example, threat actors could map real digital facial portraits or video of one person onto a person in another image or video and, voice mimicking the original person, attribute a fake message from a reliable, credible source,” he says.

To combat these types of misuse of emerging capabilities, organizations that link homeland security stakeholders to create effective alliances can increase and improve the quality of information sharing.

More information about how adversaries are employing the latest technologies to threaten homeland security will be discussed at the 2019 AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C.

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