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Cybersecurity becoming a top DoD priority, Colorado Springs expert says

February 11, 2017 Updated: February 11, 2017 at 10:26 pm
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FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2014, file photo, a specialist works at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

A top cyber expert says he expects big changes soon on how the government approaches cybersecurity.

Retired Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege who has advised the Obama and Trump administrations says the time is right for Congress and the military to advance their cybersecurity efforts. Raguege headed the Pentagon's Defense Information Systems agency before he left the service in 2005 He's now director for cyber risk services at consulting giant Deloitte.

He said recent cyber attacks, from hacking credit cards at Target stores to stealing email from the Democratic National Committee have taken the once-obscure topic of computer security into the mainstream.

"What has happened is that cyber is now in the boardroom and the situation room," Raduege said during a stop at the Rocky Mountain Cyberspace Symposium last week at The Broadmoor.

Raduege played a role in the increased awareness of America's computer vulnerabilities. He helped lead a 2009 panel that helped President Barack Obama set priorities for cybersecurity.

Last fall Raduege joined a group of experts through the Center for Stratyegic and International Studies that readied a similar report for incoming President Donald Trump.

"It's critical that we haven't moved fast enough," Raduege said of the nation's efforts.

Moving fast is a key component to staying safe in cyberspace. Hackers and nations are constantly improving their abilities to exploit vulnerable networks.

"Now we're starting to think about the internet of things," Raduege said, referring to the exponentially increasing number of everyday items tied to the internet.

With everything from refrigerators to automobiles connected to computer networks, the chances for a successful hack have grown.

The willingness of Congress to aggressively work to thwart hackers is at an all-time high, Raduege said.

"There are all these committees and subcommittees and they all have questions on cyber," he said. "They have their oar in the water."

And Trump, too, has voiced serious concerns about America's ability to counter hackers.

"I'm very hopeful with the new administration," he said.

Colorado U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman agreed with Raduege, saying with Congress and the White House in Republican hands, bills could move more swiftly. And top leaders are making computer security a top issue.

"It's an emphasis for the Defense Department," said Coffman, who heads the manpower subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

Raduege said he's also bullish on the burgeoning cyber industry growing in Colorado Springs.

The Pikes Peak region has an estimated 13,000 cybersecurity workers and is home to the National Cyber Security Center, Air Force Space command, which oversees that service's work in cyberspace, and Cyberworx, a new Air Force Academy-based initiative that will help the Pentagon combat cyber attacks.

Colorado Springs is becoming a real hub of security and cybersecurity," he said.

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Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240

Twitter: @xroederx

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