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Lynn arrives in Brussels for Cybersecurity Talks

Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III is meeting with NATO and European Union officials here to strengthen cyberdefense capabilities.

This is Lynn’s second visit to the alliance in four months to discuss cybersecurity.

“It’s an opportunity for Deputy Secretary Lynn to meet and discuss with NATO and EU leaders ways to strengthen cybersecurity and to follow through on the Lisbon Summit declaration to develop and implement a NATO cyber policy and implementation plan with real capabilities,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

NATO leaders recognize that cyber threats are increasingly dangerous and during the Lisbon Summit dedicated the alliance to work to develop capabilities to address the threats. Political and military leaders and their cybersecurity experts are here to track the progress made since the summit in November.

“It’s an opportunity to bring cyber experts to really begin putting the implementation aspects behind the plan,” a senior defense official said on background.

One goal is to secure the alliance networks and to have all nations contribute to that effort, the official said. A primary focus for Lynn this week is “to look at bringing these nations together under this NATO common vision and having them leverage each others’ expertise and experiences and drawing a common vision based on the threat to better secure NATO’s networks,” the official said.

Lynn will meet with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, but will work most closely with Ambassador Gábor Iklódy of Hungary, the alliance’s assistant secretary general for emerging security challenges.

Lisbon has changed the environment in NATO. “There is an excitement, and enthusiasm now coming off of Lisbon to do more,” the official said.

NATO is not starting from ground zero. The alliance had concepts, an incident response capability, ways to warn each other, and to begin to get around the idea of situational awareness. But these were nascent.

“They were incomplete,” the official said. “They did not cover as much of the networks as we need. We do not cover 100 percent of the networks yet. At the same time, the desire resulted in a plan that was pushed four to five years out.”

Alliance leaders at Lisbon advanced that schedule. “They are accelerating the timeline and providing complete coverage across military networks with a bridge to civilian networks over the course of the next three years,” the official said.

Lynn also is expected to meet with European Union cybersecurity officials to see how the cybersecurity efforts on NATO, the EU and the United States can complement each other.

Lynn also will look at ways to engender a relationship with the private sector, the official said. “This is critical in terms of securing networks and, indeed, the entire communications infrastructure,” the official said. “Some 80 to 90 percent of what we are doing rides on the private infrastructure.”

The cyber threat continues to grow and morph. “That is a constant drumbeat reminder that NATO must come together to build not only a plan, but a way to implement it,” the official said. “The challenge, of course, will be in today’s environment, with the resource constraints we have, to get each to leverage capabilities to move quickly to counter this threat.”

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