Lynn to Discuss Cybersecurity with NATO Allies

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)

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