During the first two decades of the 21st century, the nation’s security and defense focus was primarily on terrorism by non-state actors and lone wolves. During that same period, advances in digital and information technology were rapidly adopted by government and industry. Often technology’s implementation was quick and cheap with little regard to being secure, which created security gaps and vulnerabilities. Today, China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are asserting themselves on the geopolitical stage. Each country has recognized that there is a strategic advantage to using cyber warfare to “threaten both minds and machines in an expanding number of ways – to steal information, to influence our citizens, or to disrupt critical infrastructure.” Threats include the weaponization of information by utilizing social media and sponsorship of “news-media” programs.
Industry along with emergency managers and public safety officials are now challenged with a sobering question: “Is your organization ready to defend, respond to and recover from a well-planned and funded hybrid act on your local, critical assets by state and non-state actors?”
In 2019, the Preparedness Leadership Council (PLC) will host four roundtables across the country to better define the hybrid warfare problem, understand its consequences, discuss interdependencies, and provide solutions and actionable items for operational executives and policy makers. A typical roundtable will host approximately 30 invited guests representing industry, emergency management, public safety, medical response, law enforcement, the United States Coast Guard and National Guard, along with nongovernmental organizations. Senior operational managers will convene in San Francisco (July), Chicago (September), New Orleans (October), and New York City (December) with facilitated conversations.
Topics of discussion will include:
- What is hybrid warfare and its consequences to local preparedness and resilience professionals?
- What are some of the weapons used in a hybrid attack?
- How can social media and other nontraditional “media outlets” complicate a local response and recovery plan?
- How do “weapons of mass distraction” affect public trust while providing deniability and anonymity to the covert attacker?
- What are feasible solutions, actionable items, and other next steps that need to be understood?
After the roundtables, the PLC will host an executive briefing at The National Press Club, Washington, DC, in January 2020, to present a report gathered from those roundtables. That report will also be presented to members of both legislative and executive branches of the federal government. Additionally, DomesticPreparedness.com will distribute copies nationwide.
The PLC and DomesticPreparedness.com invite emergency preparedness, response, and resilience professionals to share their knowledge and experiences on the critical topic of cyber warfare throughout the year. There are three urgent calls to action:
- Would you like to participate in a roundtable at one of the venues in 2019?
- May we send you information about submitting an article to share information on one of the above topics of discussion?
- Are you a subject matter expert who would like to participate in a call-in podcast recording?
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating in an upcoming roundtable or podcast; and contact the editor-in-chief at email@example.com to submit an article for consideration in the DomPrep Journal.