BRUSSELS, Belgium, Sept. 14, 2010 — Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III has arrived here for discussions with NATO leaders.
The primary purpose of the trip is to brief NATO leaders on the U.S. defense cybersecurity initiative, said Bryan Whitman, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.
“It’s an opportunity to convey the importance of cybersecurity to our NATO allies, as well as a chance to encourage them to secure NATO systems,” Whitman said.
Lynn is scheduled to meet with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen before briefing the alliance’s North Atlantic Council on U.S. cyber initiatives. He will then travel to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe to meet with Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe.
While the focus of the visit will be cybersecurity, the discussions will cover the gamut of NATO issues, Whitman said. Lynn probably will discuss the NATO mission in Afghanistan with the leaders, and the November NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, he added.
The cybersecurity threat is real and growing, and an effective defense will require international cooperation, Lynn has said. More than 100 foreign intelligence organizations are trying to hack into various aspects of the U.S. information technology infrastructure, and foreign militaries are developing offensive cyber capabilities, he noted in a June speech in Canada’s capital of Ottawa.
The Canadian, British and Australian militaries have agreed to work closely with the United States to combat the threat to military information systems, defense officials said, noting that cyber attacks are not just military threats, but also threats to critical infrastructures and overall economic well-being. The U.S. military always has maintained that a shared, alliance approach to cybersecurity is critical to defending against cyber attacks, officials said.
Lynn’s briefing will update NATO’s 28 nations on U.S. initiatives and suggest ways to improve cybersecurity for the alliance and among the individual countries, Whitman said.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)