On June 17, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft released the U.S. Coast Guard “Cyber Strategy,” which aligns with the plans of the departments of Homeland Security and Defense and will guide the service’s efforts in the cyber domain for the next 10 years.
“Cyber is a new risk factor, but it does not interrupt long-standing and successful regimes for dealing with prevention and response to incidents,” said Zukunft at the strategy’s roll out held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. “This isn’t about looking for new authorities or missions. We’re doing as we’ve done for 225 years. We’re applying our existing authorities and skills to meet demand in emerging domains.”
The Coast Guard’s commitment to cyberspace as an operating domain requires a comprehensive strategy that provides a clear framework for mission execution.
“While cyber certainly poses a number of unique risks and challenges,” Zukunft said, “I am confident that we can meet them in a way that benefits the marine industry, protects privacy, and maintains the safety and security of our maritime environment.”
The Coast Guard Cyber Strategy identifies three distinct strategic priorities crucial to the service’s mission: defending cyberspace, enabling operations and protecting infrastructure. In all of these efforts, the service’s goal is a common one: identify and address cyber risks to the maritime domain.
- Defending cyberspace: To ensure mission success as effectively and efficiently as possible, the Coast Guard must protect information infrastructure and build a more resilient Coast Guard network.
- Enabling operations: Cyberspace operations – both in and out of Coast Guard information and communications networks and systems – help detect, deter, disable and defeat adversaries. Robust intelligence, law enforcement and maritime and military cyber programs are essential to the effectiveness of Coast Guard operations and deterring, preventing and responding to malicious activity targeting critical maritime infrastructure.
- Protecting Infrastructure: The maritime transportation system, and its associated infrastructure, is vital to America’s economy, security and defense. While cyber systems enable the maritime transportation system to operate with unprecedented speed and efficiency, those same systems also create potential vulnerabilities.
Since 1790, the U.S. Coast Guard has harnessed innovations and leveraged new capabilities to ensure safety, security, and stewardship across the maritime domain.
“We will ensure the security of our cyberspace, maintain superiority over our adversaries, and safeguard our nation’s critical maritime infrastructure,” Zukunft said.