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Gen. Keith B. Alexander Discusses Current Cyber Threats at Titans Breakfast

On Friday, May 10, a sold out crowd of 750 attendees gathered at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner for the final NVTC Titans breakfast of the 2012-2013 series featuring Gen. Keith B. Alexander, Commander of U.S. Cyber Command, Director of the National Security Agency and Chief of the Central Security Service. During the event, Gen. Alexander shared his insights on the nation’s cybersecurity priorities and the importance of information sharing between the government and private sector.

Gen. Keith B. Alexander speaks at the NVTC Titans Breakfast on May 10, 2013.
Gen. Keith B. Alexander speaks at the NVTC Titans Breakfast on May 10, 2013.

Gen. Alexander began his remarks by outlining current cyber threats, including attacks on data, distributed denial of service attacks and theft of intellectual property, and asking for industry’s assistance in explaining these risks to the public. He explained that future networks will be based in a defensible architecture using secure cloud technology and that smart mobile platforms will be used increasingly to connect to networks.

On the policy front, Gen. Alexander expressed the need for legislation to allow increased information sharing between industry and the government without the threat of lawsuits. In particular, he believes the public and private sectors should be able to communicate about attacks in real-time in order to protect the nation’s cyber assets. Rather than waiting until after a major attack to rush legislation through Congress, Gen. Alexander urged policymakers to be proactive, stating “we have time now to get this right. It is absolutely vital to our future.”

Gen. Alexander also urged a team approach between government and industry and asked the private sector to work with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on producing standards and a framework for the future.

During a lively Q&A with the audience, Gen. Alexander also answered questions about securing the nation’s power grid and protecting aging infrastructure, working with homeland security partners at the state and local levels, and how to address privacy concerns surrounding identity management, particularly with biometrics. He also explained that funding for government cybersecurity priorities will likely grow, despite cuts in other areas of federal spending. He closed by discussing the nation’s response to cyber warfare, stating that the U.S. would consider the full spectrum of options when responding to cyberattacks, because “your defense needs to be at the same speed as your adversary.”

Watch the full video of Gen. Alexander at the May 10 NVTC Titans Breakfast below.