WEST 2017

April 1, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Service chiefs (l-r) from the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps discuss critical issues they are confronting. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The gravest national security threat to the United States is a product of its own making.

By far, concerns emanating from the cyber domain outrank conventional conflict hazards posed by the Chinas, Irans, North Koreas or Russias of the world, military leaders said in February during West 2017 in San Diego.

February 23, 2017
By Monique Attar
Women share stories of hurdles and triumphs at the Women in Cyber panel at West 2017. Photo by Mike Carpenter

The energy in the room was palpable and sporadic buzzing and murmurs were heard as a panel of successful women in the cyber world on Wednesday shared tales of their challenges, opportunities, educational paths and hopes for improving the environment for future generations, seeking to make a difference. 

February 23, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
From l to r, service chiefs from the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps address critical issues facing the U.S. military. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Some 16 years of continuous combat, coupled with a U.S. military force that got too used to going against a benign power projection by would-be adversaries, has sidelined the services a bit, and the world is rapidly catching up, service leaders shared on the final day of the West 2017 conference.

February 23, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Adm. Michael Rogers, USN (l), and Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), discuss national security issues during day three of the West 2017 conference in San Diego. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Cybersecurity can no longer be viewed as a technology-only problem and segmented into stovepipes where the U.S. Defense Department carries out one set of tasks; the civilian government another; and industry does its own thing, said Adm. Michael Rogers, USN, director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and commander of U.S. Cyber Command.

“It must be viewed more broadly and must be tackled from a national security perspective,” Adm. Rogers said during a morning West 2017 conference presentation Thursday with Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), former NATO commander and dean of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

February 22, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld, USN (Ret.), the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talks about disruptive technologies during a keynote address at West 2017 in San Diego. Photo by Mike Carpenter

The U.S. military is at a critical innovation junction. Will it succumb to a disruptive environment or prevail? All indications point to an outcome that could go either way. 

February 22, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Adm. Philip Davidson, USN, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, warns that the Navy is taking a risk by pushing modernization efforts to the back burner in favor of forward deployed fleet readiness. Photo by Mike Carpenter

The integrity of the U.S. Navy suffers today because the integrity of the force depends on capability, capacity and readiness—three areas that have taken a beating with a Navy at war for 15 years and the budget shortfalls threatening so many military arenas, said Adm. Philip Davidson, USN, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command. 

February 22, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare and director of naval intelligence, speaks at West 2017. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Information warfare is an aggressive game of soccer where not only are all the fans on the field with the players, but no one is wearing uniforms.

February 21, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Are the U.S. armed forces ready to fight? It depends, says Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, USN, (c).

Emerging cyber trends such as the rapid increase in the number of bad actors, increased capabilities and sophistication, and the high degree of automation complicates a key question posed to U.S. military leaders: Are the armed forces ready to fight? 

In the cyber realm, the answer is: “It depends,” said Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, USN, commander of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet.

February 21, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Adm. Harry Harris, USN, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, delivers a keynote address at West 2017 in San Diego. Photo by Michael Carpenter

It is imperative that the United States—government and private companies alike—begin using its inherent innovative spirit to think exponentially and develop technologies that will save time, dollars and lives while defeating the nation's adversaries, said Adm. Harry Harris, USN, commander of U.S. Pacific Command. 

February 21, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), former NATO commander and dean of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, kicked off the premier naval West 2017 conference on Tuesday, delivering a keynote that touched on a litany of threats. Adm. Stavridis, pictured in the upper right corner, delivered remarks and slides by video teleconference. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Of all the threats facing U.S. military forces, the greatest worry for Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), is the dynamic, manmade world of cyber.