On Tuesday, March 19 CEPA co-hosted the first CYBERSEC Conference in DC in cooperation with the Kosciuszko Institute. This two-panel conference was a timely opportunity to assess the current cybersecurity challenges in the United States and the Three Seas Region.

On September 17, 2018, during the third Three Seas Initiative (3SI) Summit in Bucharest, the leaders of the 3SI countries identified the 3 Seas Digital Highway (3SDH) as the first priority to enhance the North-South digital connectivity in the region. However, to ensure long-lasting development in the region, the 3SDH must be supported by other innovative projects based on ground-breaking technologies and state-of-the-art infrastructure. 5G, modern cloud-based services and data centers, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, quantum computing, e-commerce centers, Digital Innovation Hubs and Competence Centers, and autonomous vehicles all present ground-breaking opportunities for the region to overcome centuries-old development challenges and face the requirements of the global digital economy. In order to do so, it requires new regulations, investment, talent, innovation, and joint public and private implementation of cutting-edge technologies. Above all, cybersecurity has to be considered and implemented in the whole value chain. A key role of the private sector should be acknowledged: the ongoing digital transformation in the Three Seas Region provides numerous occasions for tech companies to explore and collaborate.

Additionally, in the 2018 National Cyber Strategy, the White House underlined the importance of forging alliances and cooperation with like-minded countries to strengthen its national security. The Three Seas Region, along with other NATO allies, remains a target for hybrid threats and malicious cyber tactics. Building resilience and deterrence to these pressures requires vibrant and innovative strategies. The United States can bolster the security of its frontline allies by sharing best practices and methods on how to effectively modernize and develop new systems for the defense and military sectors that incorporate emerging dual-use technologies. Lessons learned by the U.S. defense community can provide valuable insights on how to establish coordinated defense research agendas, foster fruitful military-commercial high-tech industry cooperation, engage start-ups, and efficiently implement matured digital IT infrastructure.

During the first discussion, Edna Conway of Cisco Systems opened the panel by providing her perspective on how the transatlantic community should assist in developing secure digital transformation in the Three Seas Region. The panel continued with a conversation between Nikodem Bończa Tomaszewski, President of the Management Board, EXATEL, Allan Friedman, Director of Cybersecurity Initiatives for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Tony Housh, Chairman for the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland, and Robert L. Strayer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy in the United States. The first panel was moderated by Melissa Hathaway, President of Hathaway Global Strategies LLC and former cybersecurity advisor in the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The second panel began with introductory remarks from Christopher Painter, Commissioner for the Global Commission on Stability of Cyberspace and former Coordinator for Cyber Issues, U.S. Department of State. The panel continued with a conversation between Sorin Ducaru, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and former Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO, Trey Herr, Senior Security Strategist for Digital Diplomacy at Microsoft,Michał Kuczmierowski, Member of the Management Board at the Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa PGZ S.A., Robert L. Strayer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Cyber and InternationalCommunications and Information Policy in the United States, and Tomasz Zdzikot, Deputy Minister of National Defense for Poland. The second panel was moderated by Réka Szemerkényi, Executive Vice President of CEPA.

Key takeaways from the event can be found here.

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Peter B. Doran

Réka Szemerkényi


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