On the last day of TechNet Augusta, officials stressed the importance of collaboration and cooperation between industry, the military and academia to the army’s future.
The army is in a race to modernize cyber capabilities.
That’s the takeaway from TechNet Augusta, which ended Thursday with a closing keynote from Maj. Gen. James Mingus, commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, who stressed the importance of cyber’s strategic integration into combat missions.
“Cyber can be a combined arms operation in and of itself but it’s even more powerful if it’s part of a combined arms maneuver concept of operations from the beginning,” he said.
Mingus’ presentation focused on Russia and other potential cyber threats. Edward Buckner with the Army Cyber Center of Excellence said the military is focused on closing the cyber gap that exists between the U.S. and other countries.
“As we’ve seen more recently in the past with Russia and others, they have become much more proficient in being able to not only penetrate networks but manipulate the networks,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure that we protect our networks but also be able to push those types of effects on their military to help basically lock their forces in place and allow us to maneuver the way we need to.”
In the future, the military could merge cyber and information operations, Buckner said, as securing communications becomes more critical.
“If we don’t protect our information internally to us the way we need to, then we get into issues of where they can use that information against us,” Buckner said. “We’ve got to look at it as an element of battle. It’s a part of the operations now – it’s not something separate from what we do in the field.”
Buckner said relationships with industry help the army envision how new techniques and ideas can be implemented to resolve problems and close gaps in technology.
Several companies at the conference, including Envistacom and Engility, are among the many that work with Fort Gordon. Scott Fazekas, director of public relations and marketing communications with Engility, said the company has about 60 employees working with Fort Gordon. The company provides engineering and logistics services to the military.
“About 70 percent of us have some sort of government service,” Fazekas said. “We know what challenges they’re facing because we’ve faced those challenges.”
Atlanta-based Envistacom also works with Fort Gordon, and senior vice president Alan Carson said the company might have its own facilities in Augusta within the next 24 months as cyber continues to grow in the area. Envistacom focuses on cyber and communications solutions and works primarily with the Department of Defense and the intelligence community.
“Every kind of communication technology that we would deliver to the government we have to integrate a cyber capability into that to be able to defend the network from hackers and make sure that it’s as robust and resilient as possible,” Carson said.
These companies are just some of the hundreds of industry partners that work with Fort Gordon to improve cyber capabilities.
“Our industry partners are absolutely critical to the army’s modernization strategy,” said Maj. Gen. John Morrison Jr., commanding general of Fort Gordon and the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence.
Next year’s conference will be held at the Marriott Convention Center from Aug. 19-23.
This article was originally written on Augusta Chronicle, please click here to read the original article.