U.S. COAST GUARD
The U.S. Coast Guard is developing a compre- hensive cyber strategy that will detail how it plans to operate in cyberspace in the future.
Officials expect the document to be finished this year.
The strategy is another example of the service’s effort to
place a greater emphasis on cyber security. Coast Guard
Cyber Command, in Alexandria, Va., formally stood up in
2013 and earlier this year the service released the
“Command, Control, Communications, Computers,
Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Information Technology (C4ISR&IT) Strategic Plan for Fiscal
Years 2015-2019.” The Coast Guard also is educating senior staff to highlight the importance of cyber security.
“This is something that has been building for everyone over the last few years,” said CAPT Michael Dickey,
deputy commander of Coast Guard Cyber Command.
The service’s network includes 45,000 to 50,000
workstations, a few thousand servers and more than
1,000 network circuits.
“We have a lot of terrain we are trying to manage
and defend,” Dickey said.
The Alexandria headquarters staff has been grow-
ing. It currently has 50 staffers working there, com-
pared with around 35 in 2013. The Coast Guard also
supports U.S. Cyber Command
with about 20 service members as-
signed to its operations in Fort
Dickey said the Coast Guard
Cyber Command staff is not nearly
enough, though, for a service with
more than 40,000 active-duty personnel, and that staff size is being
addressed in the comprehensive
“We are looking at things we
can resource better,” he said.
Dickey said the Coast Guard has
other people working on cyber
security measures throughout its
nine districts to help thwart potential attacks.
The deputy commander did not have exact numbers
in terms of how many cyber attacks the service faces, but
he did say they are increasing at a rate that was testing
Coast Guard Cyber Command’s ability combat them.
“It used to be every few months we faced a big vul-
nerability, but now they are coming on a weekly basis
… the work load to keep up is becoming much
greater,” Dickey said.
“Unless something changes from a security perspec-
tive, I think we are going to find it harder and harder to
keep up with the threat. It is an ongoing steady stream
that just never stops and there is no break from it.”
The service, which is overseen by the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS), has not had any specific
cyber attacks target its infrastructure. But that does not
mean it does not face daily risks from hackers, nefarious websites, spam mail, viruses and potential compromises to system computers.
As the Coast Guard continues its multi-decade fleet
recapitalization plan, both old and new assets are a
concern for Dickey.
“The legacy systems that are hard, or sometimes impossible, to update are our biggest headache,” he said.
Coast Guard aims to beef up information system security
By JOHN C. MARCARIO, Special Correspondent
The Coast Guard has placed an emphasis on becoming cyber
proficient over the last five years as a command and strategic
plan has been introduced.
; The service has spent extensive time educating senior leadership on the importance of cyber security.
; The Coast Guard commandant told lawmakers he plans to
enhance the service’s cyber-security measures in 2016.
; A cyber strategy is being established and is expected to be
released this year.