Examining the Role of Government in Private Sector Cyber Security

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Date(s) - 11/15/20113:00 pm - 5:00 pm


On November 15, the George C. Marshall Institute hosted a roundtable discussion on the role of government in protecting private sector cyber security.

In May of this year, the Obama Administration released its International Strategy for Cyberspace, which identifies key goals and aspirations as well as actions that the U.S. would take preserve “prosperity, security, and openness in a networked world.”  This strategy document, and others like it, offer guidance, but fundamental questions about the government’s response to cyber security challenges remain unanswered.

 Over the past several months, reports, both formal and informal, help to reveal both the magnitude and urgency of the cyber security challenges confronting the United States.  Some call for “stronger and more proactive leadership” by the federal government to secure and defend the cyber infrastructure on which the nation now so depends.

Among the issues that must inform the discussion of what constitutes strong and proactive federal leadership are:

  • What are the limits of federal responsibility to protect cyber networks?  Are there any?  Should there be any?
  • What is a government network?  Are government contractors a government network or a private network?
  • If cyber is judged a “critical infrastructure,” does that justify or require greater federal involvement in protecting that infrastructure?
  • To what extent should the government mobilize industry to work collectively on cyber security defenses, protocols, reporting requirements, etc?

To address these and other questions surrounding the federal role in private cyber security, the Marshall Institute hosted a panel discussion on November 15, 2011.  Panelists include:

  • Dr. John Sheldon, Professor at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Air University, Maxwell AFB and Fellow at the Marshall Institute,
  • Dr. Lani Kass, CEO, Drywit LLC; formerly Senior Policy Advisor, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force; Director, U.S. Air Force Cyberspace Task Force; Professor, National War College
  • Dmitri Alperovitch, President, Asymmetric Cyber Operations LLC; formerly Vice President, Threat Research at McAfee,
  • Dan Gallington, Senior Policy & Program Advisor at the Marshall Institute 

Examining the Role of Government in Private Sector Cyber Security

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