Cybersecurity and Interoperability are a Package Deal for the Defense Community


As the battlespace becomes more connected and interoperable, it’s understandable that cybersecurity within and across domains has become a top concern for the defense community. In fact, earlier this year, it was the center of discussion for a panel at Sea Air Space, where various maritime defense leaders discussed how cybersecurity fit into their strategy and their mission.

Each of the leaders from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command, the U.S. Navy, and Maritime Administration (MARAD) spoke to how multi-domain cybersecurity has become a top concern for their branches and ultimately shapes how they approach the mission at hand, according to SeaPower Magazine.

“All [Coast Guard] missions are directly linked to the cyber domain,” Coast Guard Rear Adm. David Dermanelian, assistant commandant for C4IT and commander of Coast Guard Cyber Command said. “And I would posit that even within the Coast Guard, we’re in contact with bad actors, or the enemy, every day. The Coast Guard’s role is to defend our maritime transportation, our cyber domain.”

Gregg Kendrick, Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command executive director, supported Adm. Dermanelian’s sentiment in the need for more robust cybersecurity operations in ensuring the delivery of accurate, reliable information to warfighters in-theater, both at sea and ashore. “Just like the Coast Guard, we have a little of a unique mission as well. … The commandant and the chief of naval operations are exceedingly … bringing us out of the ground force and bringing us back to our naval heritage,” Kendrick said.

While the need and expectation of more comprehensive cybersecurity approaches and solutions aren’t new to the maritime branches, or any branches of the defense community for that matter, the challenges of keeping pace with those expectations and near-peer adversaries still remain.

Panel moderator, Navy Vice Adm. Matthew Kohler, deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare and director of naval intelligence said, “Technology is running at us at an unprecedented rate. … It’s not just the pace of the technology, it’s the race for how quickly we can adopt that technology … to how we fight and [it] gives us the ‘Great Power Competition’ that we find ourselves in today.”

Putting the necessary technology to address the very real and ever-evolving cybersecurity threats in-theater quickly into the hands of the warfighter is paramount. At The Modern Battlespace, we’re watching closely to see how industry and government partners are working together to realize and perfect this technology.