Conference brings cyber policies, solutions to Maxwell



by Air University Public Affairs Staff reports
Air University


10/19/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Al  -- The Air Force Research Institute held its second annual cyber power conference Oct. 10-11 at Maxwell's Officer Training School, creating a forum where policy makers and practitioners could look at ways to organize a unified response to cyberattacks.

Cyber Power: The Quest Toward a Common Ground covered a variety cyberspace issues and included 14 workshops that focused on strategic policy.

The conference wrapped up a year-long research effort by AFRI called Project Cyber Power. The first phase of this project, held in April, was a workshop on cyber power, national security and military operation. In August, AFRI convened another workshop to examine private sector roles and responsibilities within the context of organizing national cyber power.

"We conducted this series to contribute to a better understanding of the structural sources of cybersecurity challenges and to identify whole-of-society approaches to serve as framework for identifying solutions and better-informed policies." said Dr. Panayotis Yannakogeorgos, research professor of cyberpolicy and global affairs at the AFRI.

Keynote speakers at the cyber conference helped frame the thematic issues discussed during the breakout sessions. Speakers included Dr. Peter Fonash from the Department of Homeland Security; Joe Weiss, an industrial control system security expert; 24th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Suzanne Vautrinot; retired Brig. Gen. Guy Walsh from U.S. Cyber Command; Shingo Ito from the Japanese Ministry of Defense; and Jody Westby, an expert on global cyber risk.

Following the keynote speeches, participants split into breakout sessions to debate the questions posed. Some of the sessions examined how the military and the private sector can work together when relating cyberspace issues to both military and civilian applications.

"I designed the project so as to stimulate and develop experientially informed, interdisciplinary research on how to improve interagency effectiveness, private sector collaboration and international partnerships," Yannakogeorgos said. "Breakout sessions were used to assure that the conference was an interactive knowledge exchange amongst participants. "

One breakout session covered how responsibilities concerning cyber power may be fulfilled by U.S. government agencies and the Department of Defense, along with evaluating what cybertasks are better for private sector organizations to accomplish.

Other sessions focused on scenarios concerning the circumstances that may occur making it acceptable for the United States to use cyberweapons as a means to ensure political stability without the use of conventional forces.

The conference closed with a forum addressing what current cyberspace experts recommend as possible approaches to the use of cyberspace to influence different global actors for the purpose of achieving global and regional stability.

"The result of our long-term efforts will be the sharing of experiences and selected best practices as a viable, near-term basis for transforming interagency cybersecurity cooperation," Yannakogeorgos said. "This project will also frame strategic issues and suggest plausible directions to the Air Force Institute of Technology, leading the effort to establish Air University's Cyber Air Corps Tactical School."