In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, AI and quantum are rapidly becoming game-changers. Their potential promises to dramatically change how governments and organizations protect, defend, and evolve systems to deal with evolving cyber threats.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has shown remarkable potential in detecting and mitigating cyber threats. AI algorithms can rapidly analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and detect anomalies and outliers with great precision. Because AI is able to digest and analyze large amounts of data in near real time, this proves an invaluable tool in cybersecurity enabling proactive threat prevention, real-time incident response, and intelligent decision-making to thwart attacks before they cause significant damage.
In addition to AI, Quantum computing offers unparalleled computational power that could break traditional encryption methods. While this presents a challenge, quantum technology also provides an opportunity to develop advanced encryption techniques that are quantum-resistant. Quantum cryptography, for instance, can leverage the principles of quantum mechanics to create unbreakable codes, ensuring secure communications in the face of future threats.
Unique challenges government’s face adopting advanced technology
When it comes to cybersecurity, the Department of Defense (DoD) needs to take a measured approach to emerging technology adoption. The integration of AI and quantum technologies necessitates thorough risk assessments and meticulous planning to ensure compliance with these regulations without compromising security or operational capabilities. In a GovFuture podcast, Jim Palumbo, Command Information Officer, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Washington, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations at U.S. Department of the Navy shares insights on some of the challenges that the US Navy faces in adopting advanced technologies for cybersecurity and zero trust.
Jim says “There’s always going to be some sort of uniqueness to the DoD mission and how you need to approach things. But at the core, facilities and facilities and the controls are the controls. They’re being used are largely the same, whether it’s within DoD or out in industry or academia. So there’s a lot of lessons learned that we can take from those partners in those other environments.
And as I tell my team all the time, we are not in an academic environment. If somebody’s already doing it, plagiarize all day long, and you’ll still get full credit. So I think that’s one of the things is to understand that somebody else is probably already, if they haven’t figured it out, they’re working through it. And if you can, partner up with them and find out who those folks are and be able to add value to those conversations, you can actually start to speed things along. I think one of the big things that’s changed within the last few years is the approach to security was very much insular or within each of the organizations and there was this hesitancy to share because you might give up some sort of secret or something along those lines. I think what’s really been encouraging over the last couple of years is seeing the conversations and those barriers start to break down between DoD, industry, and academia and understanding there is a lot of shared challenges there that if we work together in that shared space, we can make tremendous progress and speed up that progress. And then where we are unique within DOD, we can focus those resources on that uniqueness, but a great majority of that space is going to be shared in some way, shape, or form or the challenges are gonna be shared. So continuing those partnerships and those conversations will only get us to that environment and that secure environment that we wanna have and be able to evolve as challenges evolve.”
Staying up to date with the latest cybersecurity approaches
In an increasingly interconnected world, where cyber threats pose significant risks to governments, organizations and individuals need to stay up to date with the latest cybersecurity approaches. The DoD, and in particular the Navy, handle sensitive information, critical infrastructure, and advanced weaponry systems, making them prime targets for sophisticated cyber attacks. By staying up to date and mastering the latest cybersecurity approaches, the US Navy can strengthen its defenses, detect and mitigate threats more effectively, and maintain its operational readiness. Moreover, the Navy’s commitment to staying at the forefront of cybersecurity sends a clear message to adversaries that attempts to compromise national security through cyberspace will be met with unwavering resilience and vigilance.
Addressing the need for the US Navy to stay up to date with the latest cybersecurity approaches while reducing risk Jim says “people use the term, the crown jewels of the organization. What are your priorities? What do you need to focus on? And then there’s understanding the Intel, the adversary capability intent aspect of it. And this is where I really see things like AI and machine learning (coming into play) – the volume of data is only increasing. It’s increasing exponentially on a daily, weekly basis. So the ability of an individual or a group of individuals to be able to parse through all of that information and be able to focus effort accordingly is impossible and only becoming more impossible.
So to be able to leverage AI and machine learning and quantum computing to take just gobs of data and be able to analyze it and turn it back into terminology from a military perspective, the OODA loop, the observant and orient, that’s where we’re gonna need AI and machine learning in order to properly inform the deciding and the actions that need to occur and then start that process over again. That’s where I kind of see the AI and machine learning just being an absolutely critical component to our success. It is that observe and orient aspect of it because there’s just so much information out there, so much data out there and only increasing on a daily basis. But tying back to US cybercom, that’s one of the main things from a military perspective and it’s great to see what General Nakasone has done up there in regards to kind of opening it up and sharing of information and reaching out to industry and reaching out to academia and kind of driving us as a community along in regards to that information sharing. You know, when it comes to cybersecurity too, I think this is something that everybody needs to think about, right?”
AI and quantum technologies have the potential to transform cybersecurity, offering enhanced threat detection and secure communications. While the US Navy stands to benefit from these advancements, it faces unique challenges in adopting these advanced technologies, including understanding their capabilities, implementing zero trust architectures, and ensuring compliance with rigorous cybersecurity standards. Overcoming these hurdles will require a concerted effort, combining research, training, and investment in cutting-edge solutions. By embracing these technologies, the US Navy can bolster its cybersecurity posture, safeguard critical assets, and maintain its role as a global maritime force in the digital era. To hear all of Jim’s thoughts on the subject check out his entire GovFuture podcast.
Disclosure: Kathleen Walch is an Executive Director at GovFuture.