Greetings from Lisbon, Portugal!
Last week, William Poole and I (EUCOM Cyber Defense Division International Information Assurance Branch) wrapped up the Cyber Endeavor portion of the Combined Endeavor 2011 mid-planning conference. Let me give you a little background on Cyber Endeavor. Educators and technical professionals from governmental organizations, industry, and academia, provide cyber defense familiarization to audiences from an estimated 40 countries. Cyber Endeavor is the premier forum for international military, industry and academic professionals to collaborate and improve partnerships with the end goal of strengthening collective cyber defense capabilities.
This year, Cyber Endeavor will run almost three weeks from 5-22 September in Grafenwöhr, Germany. There will be the basic cyber defense familiarization on technical security topics ranging from securely configuring firewalls, working with intrusion detection systems, and forensics collection. A familiarization track will also be provided to mid-level managers at the policy-level, covering topics such as risk management, current industry security tools, and threats to networks. Participants will also take part in a live-fire, cyber range and learn how to identify, stop, respond to, and fight through an attack in a safe, fully enclosed environment.
For the first time in the 17-year history of Combined Endeavor, the scenario will have cyber events injected to test the readiness and response capabilities of multi-national forces. Combined Endeavor is no longer a communications exercise focused solely on ensuring communication and interoperability. It has shifted to also ensuring decision-makers can access the data and information necessary for Coalition Information Dominance. Information dominance leads to decision superiority and that’s ultimately what coalition leaders want from their communications and information systems. Cyber Endeavor will be key as it will ensure the confidentiality, integrity, availability, non-repudiation, and authentication of that information as well as raising the cyber awareness level of the participants taking part in the exercise.
You may be saying to yourself, “So what…it sounds like just another exercise to me”. Well, the exciting part of this event lies in the bringing together a diverse group of Cyber Defenders from 40 nations within the EUCOM AOR. That is almost twice the number of participant nations as other EUCOM exercises. These nations are learning together as a group, and are sharing their collective cyber experiences with each other. Cyber Endeavor helps to build bridges among nations and build stronger network connections. This will lead to stronger international relationships and enabling nations to see what exactly it means to protect and defend computer networks across traditional country borders.
I am very excited to be a part of this exercise. Working with my counterparts in other nations and gaining their insight into cyber issues is very interesting. It challenges you to look at issues from a different, international, perspective. It is rewarding to start work on a project like this at the ground level, and see it mature into a world-class cyber exercise.
SHAUN M. CAVANAUGH
International Cyber Defense Specialist and Cyber Patriot
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
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