Friday, April 18, 2008

Cyberwarfare Key Part of Tacoma Forum

On June 3, the Pacific Northwest National Security Forum will again provide the opportunity for citizens, students, veterans and troops to learn about the future of American national security. This year’s program will focus on Africa Command and cyber warfare!

The one-day forum at the Tacoma Convention Center is open to the public. Events will begin at 12:30 p.m. and end around 8 p.m. Cost is $50, if paid in advance, and includes admission to an expo reception co-hosted by SpecOps West, a trade show going on at the convention center June 3-5. Forum registration information is available.

The forum program includes an evening keynote presentation by the Air Force Cyber Command Vice Commander on the current state of this nation’s involvement in the 21st century’s contribution to military science – cyber warfare.

“Cyber warfare is the inevitable result of the world’s advance (some might say descent) into the Toffler’s Third Wave or information age, as others depict our current environment,” explained LTC Doug Adams, USA, Ret., at 571-332-7248.

“With the rise of mass communications, personal computing, and ever-increasing velocity of information around the globe have come concomitant attempts to attack both the process and the progress of globalization. Until recently, these attempts – some successful, some not – have mostly been conducted by individuals or small virtual cells of like-minded hackers. These were annoying, but not necessarily threatening.

“For the United States, however, this mindset changed after September 11, 2001, when investigation of the attacks’ planning stages revealed the extensive use of the Internet by the perpetrators and their supporters. It has become clear with every attack and every attempt since that clear September morning that the Internet is not just a target for attack, but also a weapon to be used by those who would conduct old-fashioned kinetic attacks.

“Still, the level of conflict was being conducted by groups and what have become known as ‘super-empowered individuals’ (SEIs). Dangerously, that may be changing. For example, attempts in 2007 to attack the U.S. Department of Defense cyber infrastructure are believed to have been orchestrated by China.”

Such developments have led to the creation by the U.S. Air Force of the first Cyber Command. (The other services also have plans for similar commands.) The Forum is fortunate to have Cyber Command Vice Commander, Brig. Gen. (s) Tony Buntyn, address these concerns and what the United States intends to do in the future to counter them.

“Although we might wish it were otherwise, the cyber battlefield exists and United States national security officials must conduct successful operations on that battlefield to ensure the continuation of free and open political, economic, and personal discourse,” Adams said.

In addition, The 2008 schedule will include invited speakers from the United States Africa Command, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the BiPartisan Policy Center. They will discuss the creation and development of the tenth unified combatant command, USAFRICOM, and its potential impact on U.S. relations with the countries of Africa.

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