U.S. Air Force: Leading Cyber Minds Converge at Hanscom
Numerous regional cyber leaders convened at Hanscom Air Force Base May 28 to discuss, and sometimes debate, the merits and challenges of secure cloud computing.
Organized by the Advanced Cyber Security Center (ACSC) and hosted by leaders at Hanscom, the event fostered vigorous discussion about the most efficient and secure ways to store and protect critical data and systems. Participating companies and organizations included Akamai, Google, State Street Financial, Liberty Mutual, Biogen Idec, Manulife Financial, MITRE, the RAND Corp. and Boston University’s Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science and Engineering.
ACSC Executive Director Charlie Benway noted that the event fit perfectly with Life Cycle Management Center Commander Lt. Gen. C.D. Moore II’s charge to bring in “thought leaders from outside the fence-line.” Benway also believes his organization’s members can benefit from information and ideas Hanscom leaders share.
Toward that end, two Hanscom senior leaders, Director of Engineering and Technical Management Kevin Stamey and AFLCMC Chief Technology Officer Dr. Tim Rudolph, offered presentations about Air Force cyber challenges.
Stamey discussed the edge Hanscom program specialists bring to U.S. warfighters: a full spectrum of command and control that harnesses space, air, terrestrial and cyber assets.
“However, that asymmetric capability is probably also our top vulnerability,” he said, noting that protecting the various systems and the data they produce is a constant challenge.
But protection efforts aren’t sufficient against the most advanced and persistent threats, he said. The Air Force needs to build resilient systems that can withstand and recover quickly from attack.
Protecting systems and data – either by shielding them from attack or enabling them to rapidly reconstitute – doesn’t necessarily mean keeping everything in a locked room nearby though. Forum discussion centered, in fact, on analyzing whether and when it makes sense to store data in “clouds,” huge, remotely managed data centers with great capacity and built-in security.