CyCon U.S. brings cyber experts together

Story and photos by Capt. Lisa Beum Army Cyber Institute

December 5th, 2019 | News, News and Features
 Cyber experts discuss data and sovereignty and how it pertains to Defending Forward during their panel at the International Conference on Cyber Conflict U.S. (CyCon U.S.) in Arlington, Va, Nov. 19.
 “Defending the nation against cyberattacks requires a whole of nation effort,” Dave Luber, deputy director for U.S. Cyber Command, states while explaining the relevance of Defending Forward during the International Conference on Cyber Conflict U.S. Nov. 19.

ARLINGTON, Va.–The Army Cyber Institute at West Point hosted its fourth annual International Conference on Cyber Conflict U.S. in Arlington, Virginia, Nov. 18-20. CyCon U.S. is a fast-paced event that explores the evolving facets of conflict in a globally connected world.
“There are no shortages of cyber conferences, but what makes CyCon U.S. unique is it is the only DOD conference focused on cyber conflict,” Col. Jeffrey Erickson, Army Cyber Institute chief of staff, said.
This year’s theme was Defending Forward, which DOD’s 2018 Cyber Strategy identifies as the need for an active preparedness in cyberspace.
Defending Forward is defined as disrupting or halting malicious cyber activity at its source and degrading the activity before it can reach its intended victim.
Nearly 400 guests from government, industry and academia, spanning 17 different partner and allied nations, attended the three-day conference.
A large contingent of West Point cadets, Naval Academy midshipmen and Virginia Military Institute Keydets also attended CyCon U.S. in hopes to learn from some of the greatest minds in the cyber domain.
“I wanted to attend CyCon U.S. to gain a deeper understanding of cyber affairs and interact with others in the cyber community,” Class of 2020 Cadet Ayada Queen said.
Queen is a chemical major with a cyber minor and hopes to cross commission to the Navy as a Surface Warfare officer and was one of several conference attendees looking at cyber issues through a naval scope.
“By attending CyCon U.S. for the third time, my passion for cyber security continues to grow,” Midshipman Dylan Larkin said. “The speakers, panelists and moderators all had very interesting topics that continue to keep the conversation relevant and dynamic. Being able to listen to some of the most important people in the cyber community has been crucial to my understanding of where the United States, our allies and our adversaries are in terms of cyber operations.”
Among the keynote speakers were Chris Inglis, former deputy director of the NSA; Heather McMahon, the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board; and Ambassador Timo Koster, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“My favorite aspect of CyCon U.S. was being able to listen to a variety of different cyber/cybersecurity experts and learning about the pressing issues of our time,” Class of 2020 Cadet Eric McMiller said.
McMiller is an Information Technology major who is branching Signal.
“They had panels with three to four experts and lectures with topics ranging from Information Warfare to the Security and Vulnerabilities of 5G Technology,” he said. “Overall, it was great to know that the major and branch I am involved in are relevant to the issues of today and the future security of the United States.”
CyCon U.S. is a collaborative effort between the Army Cyber Institute at the U.S. Military Academy and the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. CyCon U.S. complements the CyCon Conference held every spring in Estonia.