On July 22, the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies concluded its 2022 Cyber Policy Course, Cybersecurity Policy in the Americas: Challenges for Policy-Strategic Analysis, led by Dr. Boris Saavedra. The course enhances cybersecurity efforts across the hemisphere by empowering and connecting regional partners seeking to strengthen cybersecurity and guard against threats to democracies. The class included military, public and private sector professionals representing 11 countries of the Americas.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael T. Plehn, President of the National Defense University, greeted course participants upon their arrival in Washington, DC, for the resident portion of the course. He shared his perspective with the group saying, “Rapid technological advances and emerging technologies are not only changing the way we live, but also… forcing us to think about cooperation, competition and conflict in new ways. We must integrate cyber considerations into all aspects of planning and strategy.
Regional policy priority
In June, regional leaders attended the 9th Summit of the Americas, which aimed to strengthen cybersecurity cooperation between partner countries, universities, civil society society, the private sector and other stakeholders. The United States understands the urgency of this undertaking. In her opening remarks to the promotion, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy Mieke Eoyang highlighted the significance of this moment in cybersecurity. The cyber domain is “increasingly under attack from malicious actors – be they criminals or nation states”, he said.
In the digital age, our collective security requires the attention and action not just of nation states, but of an entire ecosystem. “This collective security ecosystem is all of us working together against those who would disrupt the peace…and interfere with functionality,” Eoyang said.
As a result, she told attendees about their upbringing and collaborative conversations. on how to defend the digital domain are very important contributions to our collective security.
The annual cost of cybercrime for Latin America and the Caribbean is equivalent to $90 billion – a considerable amount of money and resources that could be concentrated elsewhere in the region. As of June 2022, 17 countries (about half) in Latin America and the Caribbean had national cybersecurity strategies in place, according to the Organization of American States. “The vulnerabilities of all our countries to cyberattacks and the costs they could have in pesos or human lives call for greater vigilance on the issue,” said Dr. Paul Angelo, director of the Perry Center.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in some changes to the Centre’s first in-person cyberpolicy course since 2019. Dr. Saavedra, the course director, noted: biosafety, but we have also been able to integrate technological advances that have occurred over the past two years as well as two new learning methodologies. The course included a simulation exercise involving role-playing and the application of complex concepts in an evolving threat scenario. “The simulation exercise and a philosophy based on ‘how to think, not what to think’ allowed the participants to better consolidate the knowledge acquired in class,” he said.
Overall, “the programmatic content and methodology employed enabled participants to deepen their understanding of cyberspace governance, broaden their ability to analysis and formulation of sound policies and strategies, and prepared them to make informed decisions in the field of cybersecurity,” added Dr. Angelo.
Build collaborative networks
Speaking to graduates on July 22, Dr Angelo said: “From this moment on, you will be in a better position to face the challenges ahead, supported by a network of experts in finding solutions to the problems we share as neighbours, friends and partners.
Horacio Javier Hernández Otaño, adviser to the Information Directorate of the Argentine Ministry of Defense, knows firsthand the value of the Perry Center alumni network. Back for the Cyber Policy course, he first took the Center’s Defense Strategy and Policy course in 2018.
“There were 90 participants, and the group is still active four years later,” he recalls. “It’s very productive networking.” The group collaborates regularly, sharing research and expertise in real time.
Mariana Grilli Belinotte, a doctoral student at the Brazilian Army Command and General Staff College, said she appreciated “being able to see what our neighbors are doing in the region, because sometimes we miss that context and we remain too focused on our own countries. The course helped me realize how many opportunities we have to work together.
As Lt. Gen. Plehn noted when engaging with the group, “None of us knows everything, but together we can offer exceptional guidance and support to one another…We are partners in this effort.”