Cybersecurity workshop underlines the importance of integrated effort

Brigadier-General Andrew Jayne
Brigadier-General Andrew Jayne, Director-General Cyberspace. Photo: DND/CAF

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By ADM(Mat) Communications

“The growing cyber-attack capabilities of Canada’s potential adversaries is a considerable risk to the Army’s mission and security,” said Colonel Mark Parsons, the Army’s Director Land Command and Information, and host of the recently held and first Cyber Mission Assurance Workshop.

Col Parsons explained that the workshop is a start in answering two key questions:

  • How should the effects of a cyber-attack be mitigated?
  • What is being done to increase the cyber resilience of our vehicles, weapon platforms and mission critical systems?

The workshop aimed to increase the Army’s awareness of the Cyber Mission Assurance Program, which was created in 2017 with the realization that “business as usual” in the cyber domain is not an option. The program was developed to provide commanders with an assessment of the risk they face when operating in a cyber-contested environment. Its focus is on developing policy, procedures and technological solutions to reduce the risk to operations.

Brigadier-General Andrew Jayne, Director General Cyberspace, informed participants of the measures they were taking to implement Strong, Secure, Engaged Initiative #87 – Cyber Mission Assurance. He pointed out that the Cyber Mission Assurance Program is everyone’s responsibility; it is mission-focused, and it requires an awareness of all operational and technical domains.

BGen Jayne emphasized that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) would have to adopt continuous risk management to succeed in the new cyber-contested environment. He also commented on the need for cross-functional collaboration to enable Commanders to make efficient decisions.

Dr. Sylvain Leblanc and his team of cyber mentors from the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) conducted a “red versus blue” table top exercise, which resembled an intensive game of chess against a world-class chess master. It dramatically demonstrated the complexity of the cyber environment, and the need for personnel in the Materiel Group and in the Army to develop a more in-depth understanding of the cyber domain.

The workshop also included presentations from Dr. Roghieh Rousina-Webb of Director Land Equipment Program Staff, Dr. Sylvain Leblanc from RMC, Col Parsons, Col Moyle and Ronald MacEachern, also of Director Land Equipment Program Staff.

Dr. Rousina-Webb underlined the importance of integrated efforts across the Department of National Defence and the CAF to ensure that cybersecurity is addressed holistically.

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