Department of Defense officials, including deputy secretary of defense William Lynn, are meeting with NATO and European Union officials in Brussels, Belgium, this week to discuss how they can work together on cybersecurity issues.
Lynn will be meeting with NATO's secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and others. Hungary's Gabor Iklody is the point person on emerging security challenges for NATO, including cybersecurity, heading up a new office opened in August.
"It's an opportunity to bring cyber experts to really begin putting the implementation aspects behind the plan," a senior defense official told an official Department of Defense news outlet, the Armed Forces Press Service, on background, adding that the meetings would help facilitate the development of "a common vision based on the threat to better secure NATO's networks."
The visit follows up on a September trip during which Lynn met with senior NATO officials and ambassadors from NATO's member countries, and a November summit in Lisbon, Portugal where leaders including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed NATO's broader strategic priorities, with cybersecurity near the top of that list. At that time, Lynn urged NATO to develop a "cyber shield" over NATO members.
The Lisbon Summit resulted in a multi-part declaration that included a commitment to collaboration on cybersecurity. In particular, NATO committed to bringing a NATO cyber-incident response organization fully online by 2012 and to centralize NATO cybersecurity. The declaration also included commitments to develop an in-depth cyber defense policy by this June and prepare an action plan for its implementation.
Cybersecurity is an increasing focus of the U.S. military, which stood up a brand new organization last year, Cyber Command, that's focused on cybersecurity and headed by a four-star general. Military leaders have expressed interest in playing a role in the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure networks -- such as those at power plants -- as well.
Lynn is heavily engaged in technology-related issues at DoD. In addition to cybersecurity, Lynn has been involved in IT procurement reform, another top DoD priority. The military spends more than $32 billion on IT annually.