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Allies, Partners Play Key Role in Cybersecurity, Official Says

Nov. 10, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Allies and partners play a key role in cybersecurity, said Mieke Eoyang, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, who participated today in a virtual fireside chat at C4ISRNet CYBERCON 2021.

"We need to do a better job of understanding how we can use security cooperation and other mechanisms to help our allies and partners improve their cybersecurity. This is actually an area where we can really use industry's help because we have tremendous capability inside the United States in terms of providing cybersecurity for large enterprises, and I would argue that some of the best talent is actually in the private sector," she said.

A woman speaks at a virtual conference.
Mieke Eoyang
Mieke Eoyang, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, participates in a virtual fireside chat at C4ISRNet CYBERCON 2021, Nov. 10, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Brittany Chase, DOD
VIRIN: 211110-D-BM568-2011C

Understanding where adversaries are likely to try and compromise some of those allies' capabilities is vitally important, she said.

Regarding the workforce, Eoyang said the Defense Department is competing in the private sector for really valuable talent. 

Two Marines wearing masks look at computer screens.
Cyber Ops
Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Kiriden Benny, left, and Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Travis Nichols, with the defensive cyberspace operations-Internal Defensive Measures, 6th Communication Battalion, use their computers to test the vulnerability of opposing teams in the Marine Corps 2021 Cyber Games at Fort Meade, Md., Nov. 5, 2021.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Hailey Music
VIRIN: 211105-M-YK885-1021C
Men wearing masks look over paperwork.
Baseline Review
Mark Moore, left, principal cyber baseline manager, and Eric Donley, cyber sustainment principal, both with the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, Fleet Readiness Directorate 300, perform a cyber baseline review of the guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton to ensure the readiness of the fleet in San Diego, Calif., Sept. 30, 2021.
Photo By: Rick Naystatt, Navy
VIRIN: 210930-N-UN340-002C

"We in the department have a mission that is unparalleled, you know that we do things that we can't do in the private sector. So, we think that that has an appeal to it," she said, regarding recruiting and retaining the workforce.

As for the workforce, she said there's been a push to allow people from the private sector to join the reserves or come on active duty for a time to share their skills. "We need to think about a lifecycle approach to managing our cyber workforce. And that's something that we've had conversations with Cyber Command about how to do that."

An airman looks at computer screens while seated in a large mechanical chair.
Cyber Exercise
Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Barrow, 97th Communications Squadron operations flight chief, looks at network traffic during the 97th CS Mission Defense Team’s first cyber defense exercise at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., Sept. 30, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell
VIRIN: 210930-F-LH697-1019C

Cybersecurity is a moving target, she noted.

"Things change all the time. Operations in the cyber domain are very different than in the physical domains because your aim point, unlike a port or an adversary military base, may not always be accessible. They flicker in and out, and, so what does that mean for our thinking and strategy given the ephemerality of that domain? That understanding of the ephemerality of the domain, I think, is a really important strategic insight that we need to figure out how to internalize and operate within for the department," she said.