CAMP MURRAY, WA-
Just like in conventional warfare, strong alliances are necessary to put up a strong fight against cyber criminals.
“To get just one county here, putting together a cyber-plan with our folks is an accomplishment, but getting three together is incredible,” said Col. William Connor, J6/5 for Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). “It is very significant to do these kinds of events. It gets us together focusing on a common threat, that is usually from a common enemy, both state and non-state actors.”
This past week the Washington National Guard hosted the first of its kind Cybersecurity Capacity Building Program conference between INDOPACOM, cyber experts from the Washington Air National Guard, Royal Thai Armed Forces, Indonesian National Armed Forces and the cyberspace operations professional from the Vietnamese military.
Nearly 40 representatives from the four nations met at the Pierce County Readiness Center on Camp Murray from July 11-15, 2022, to discuss how developing cyber capability and relationships are key to winning the wars of tomorrow.
“Recognizing our advanced cyber relationship with Thailand, INDOPACOM asked us to host the conference,” said Lt. Col. Keith Kosik, director of the State Partnership Program. “They also want our cyber teamwork with Thailand to serve as a model for other states and their partner nations.”
The Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (Section 1256) establishes this pilot program to improve cyber cooperation with Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. The program seeks to enhance cyber security, resilience, and readiness, as well as increase regional cooperation between the United States and Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia on cyber issues, among other goals.
During the week-long engagement, the attendees focused on cyber capabilities, learning about the protection of critical infrastructure, MITRE adversarial tactics, techniques, and common knowledge, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies and how the pilot program will help benefit the whole group. The group also visited the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash. to learn how the organization is working to strengthen cybersecurity.
The Cybersecurity Capacity Building Program is a continuation of what the Washington National Guard and Thailand have been doing already. The Washington National Guard and Kingdom of Thailand have been conducting subject matter expert exchanges to strengthen their cybersecurity programs and develop capabilities for many years. Lt. Col. Jason Silves has been part of the group that has traveled to Thailand multiple times to help with strengthening those capabilities.
“As the world digitizes more and more, there is an acute realization the next conflict will involve cyberspace operations. Programs like the Cybersecurity Capacity Building Program are designed to enable our partners to build cadres of defensive operators and learn best practices before such a conflict takes place,” said Silves. “The unique opportunity to host this conference further provided the Washington National Guard the opportunity to meet with longtime friends in the Royal Thai Armed Forces Cybersecurity Center.”