NSA Director ADM Michael Rogers discusses importance of public-private sector teamwork
Collaboration between the public and private sectors is essential when it comes to strong cybersecurity, ADM Michael Rogers emphasized on April 2 to more than 700 attendees at Cybersecurity Technology Summit in Washington, hosted by Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), a non-profit association serving military, government, industry, and academia to advance communications, information technology, and security.
It was a message he has shared often, so many in the audience found it reassuringly familiar. “Cybersecurity,” he said, “is the ultimate team sport. There is not one single entity that has all the answers. There is not one single technology that is going to solve the problem of cyber.”
He then told a story of two cultures when he shared personal observations about the relationship between the private and public sectors. “My workforce says their [private sector’s] primary driver is money. I tell them, Stop. They think they are changing the world through technology,” he said. “Your focus, our focus, is about defending the nation. Those two values are very compatible and very worthwhile.”
But when ADM Rogers visits Silicon Valley, he says he gets a different story. “You have the workforce that we didn’t want to hire,” they tell him. To that he says, “Interesting. Because when somebody leaves our organization, you are freakin’ hiring them like this!” ADM Rogers quipped as he snapped his fingers to the roaring laughter of those in the room.
In the end, laughter, jokes, and quips aside, there’s a great need for that valuable team play. He concluded, “If we are going to defend the systems of the private sector within our nation, we’ve got to bring together the private sector and the public sector in a way that traditionally we have not seen. We’ve got to do this in real time. We’ve got to do it on an enduring basis. It cannot be that the only time we interact with each other is when things are going wrong.”