Gray, Wolf, Headline E-Protect IT Conference

General Alfred Gray, USMC (Ret)General Alfred Gray, USMC (Ret.) and National Security Agency Information Assurance Director Dan Wolf were the keynote speakers on March 25 for Norwich University's sixth annual E-Protect IT conference for professionals dedicated to protecting our critical information technology infrastructures, themed this year: "Counter-terrorism; Planning for the Worst."

Gray valued information assurance in the war on terror in addressing the more than 60 participants at the conference.

"We've been at war against terror since the 1983 Beirut bombing," said Gray. "I went to 74 funerals for people who died in that attack, and it wasn't easy. We've got to win this war sooner than later. I have been saying for years that we need to become more 'streetwise.' In Vietnam, some of our best soldiers were guys who came from the South Side of Chicago. We have to teach people to play the 'what-if' game. We need to teach people to think that way, and to teach people to teach people to do that, and that asymmetric thought process must go on 24 hours a day.

"There are a great number of young men and women who are dedicated, and diligent to help win this war. You'd be proud to know them. But, more than anything else, they need the tools to win this war.

"One of the reasons that Norwich is doing O.K. with information assurance is that Norwich is agile, and most of the new technology comes from small firms."

NSF NSA scholarsFor the past four years, Norwich has been designated as a National Center for Excellence in Information Assurance by the NSA.

"We're very impressed with what you have done here [at Norwich] over a very short period of time," said Wolf. "You now have a generation that was born with a mouse in hand. We need more people who are cyber-smart . . . I am a strong supporter of education and of my senior people getting out to schools like this."

"There has been a much greater interest in Information Assurance since September 11, 2001," said Wolf, quoting figures on US spending on IA that increased from $2.7 billion in 2002 to a projected 49 billion in 2005. "If and when Al-Quaeda goes after Wall Street, you will see those figures go up again."

Gen. Gray is a member of the Norwich University Board of Trustees. He retired from the Marine Corps in 1991 after 41 years of service and joined Garber International Associates (GIA) as senior associate. From 1987 to 1991, he served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps. From 1984 to 1987, Gen. Gray was the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, Fleet Marine Force Europe, II Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Striking Forces Atlantic (NATO). He was the senior Marine reporting to the Commander-in-Chief Europe/Supreme Allied Commander Europe (NATO).

Wolf is the Director of the Information Assurance Directorate at the National Security Agency (NSA), where he has the responsibility for implementing an Information Assurance strategy to protect the Defense Information Infrastructure, and as appropriate, the National Information Infrastructure. He ensures, through ongoing contact with NSA's customers, that the Information Assurance programs of the NSA continue to evolve to meet the challenges of their current and future requirements for secure communications.

E-Protect IT is a collaboration of government, industry and academia. The annual conference provides a forum whereby government presents the threat to our national infrastructure, and academia and industry discuss and arrive at solutions.

Most of the nation's critical systems are privately owned, and as President George W. Bush has stated, "Each sector must decide for itself what practices, procedures, and standards are necessary for it to protect its key systems." E-protect IT provides an opportunity for a partnership rarely seen to meet the challenges to our critical systems.

Government representatives included at the 2004 E-Protect IT Conference included: The National Security Agency, U.S. Army, U.S. Army National Guard, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National White Collar Crime Center, and the VT State Attorney General's office.

dcaspole@norwich.edu, March 2004

What's New | 2004 News Archive