Key Homeland Security, Cybersecurity, and Technology Issues for 2017

Interview of Chuck Brooks, Judge of GSN Homeland Security Awards, on Key Homeland Security, Cybersecurity, and Technology Issues for 2017

Government Security News (GSN): Chuck, Thank you again for judging our most recent and very successful awards event.

It was my real pleasure. Each year I am more and more impressed with the capabilities of the company submissions for best solutions. They are all top notch and at the innovative edge of security technologies. It also reassuring to review many of the new technologies being utilized across the physical and cyber spectrums for securing the homeland.

GSN: Speaking of technologies, much is happening in the world emerging technologies. What are your quick thoughts as a subject matter expert on our new tech era?

In my role of Chairman of CompTIA’s New and Emerging Technology Committee I get a window on what advancement is happening in both the public and private sectors. Many analysts are now saying we are entering a Fourth Industrial Revolution. I concur, these emerging technologies are already impacting how we live and work. With the advent of artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computing, the Internet of Things, augmented reality, materials science, 3-D Printing, and data analytics the near future will be really exciting. We are living in an era where innovation, agility and imagination are all essential in order to keep pace with exponential technological transformation taking place.  It is easy to imagine potential applications for new technologies. For example some of the applied verticals in homeland security where I see emerging technologies applied in the next few years include:

 * Enhanced Surveillance (chemical and bio sensors, cameras, drones)

* Improved facial recognition and License plate readers

* New Non-lethal technologies

*  Counter terrorism and law enforcement informatics via predictive analytics and artificial intelligence

* Advanced Forensics via materials science an supercomputing

* Interoperable communications, geo-fencing, and situational awareness

* Biometrics:  assured identity security screening by bio-signature: Every aspect of your physiology can be used as a bio-signature. Measure unique heart/pulse rates, electrocardiogram sensor, blood oximetry, skin temperature

* Automated cybersecurity and information assurance

* Robotic Policing

That is my own future homeland security short list. However, even with new and exciting emerging technologies in the pipeline the new digital landscape of connectivity also brings a new and wide array of vulnerabilities and threats.

GSN: What vulnerabilities and threats do you see associated with these new technologies and what will be government’s role in mitigating the treats?

There is a security component to almost anything technology related. The connectivity of technologies, especially to the internet, makes everyone and everything a target of cyber intrusion. A good example is the Internet of Things (IoT). IOT refers to the emerging connectivity of embedded devices to the Internet. It is estimated that there will be as between 25 to 65 billon connected Internet devices by 2020 (depending on who you cite). The commercial and governmental IOT "landscape of sensors" is becoming more exponential and complex by the moment. Cybersecurity for the connected IP enabled smart devices, from phishing, malware, ransomware, and denial of service attacks is becoming more of a priority with each passing day. The breaches are already happening in both the public and private sectors.  

GSN: What are your thoughts on the incoming Administration on homeland security issues?

I think that the appointment of General John Kelly at DHS is an excellent one. He has the integrity, dedication, and amazing leadership skills need for the role of Secretary of Homeland Security. He has always been admire by those who serve under him and I know he will be well received by the law enforcement community. I like the fact that he has stressed cybersecurity and protecting the electric grid during his confirmation hearings. Also, the appointments of Tom Bossert as Homeland Security Advisor and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani to bring in expertise from the private sector on cyber tech and applications bodes well.

In terms of across government mitigation efforts, cybersecurity continues to be a lead focus in the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) growing role as the leading civilian agency for protecting government agency networks and in coordinating and collaborating with the private sector. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is likely to continue to expand that role in the new Administration.

General H.R McMaster, President Trump’s choice for national security adviser, is seasoned with a strong expertise on national security threats.  On the Department of Defense (DOD) Community side, General James Mattis, who brings  41-years of Marine Corps experience, is another excellent appointment. He simply gets things done and he will provide exceptional leadership and resources, especially for the warfighter. I also like the appointments of Retired Senator Dan Coats of Indiana as Director of National Intelligence, and Congressman Mike Pompeo as Director of the CIA. Both are respected by their colleagues and have deep legislative oversight experience on national security issues. They bring the necessary leadership qualities to meet geopolitical challenges that require sharing of information, threat intelligence, technologies, and working with multi-agency task forces.

Although parameters and specifics of the missions at DOD and in the Intelligence communities differ from DHS, there still needs to be a collaborative effort for protecting the homeland domestically and abroad, especially with cybersecurity. I think that the new Administration has assembled a very strong and capable security leadership team. 

GSN: Can you update us on your social media and thought leadership activities?

Yes, last year I was selected by LinkedIn as “One of the Top 5 People to Follow On LinkedIn” by LinkedIn (I was named #2).  I now have around 32,000 first degree followers on LinkedIn and manage or own 12 LI groups (mostly dealing with tech and security issues). I am also active on Twitter nearing 4,500 followers  (please follow me @ChuckDBrooks) and on Facebook. As you all know, social media has become part of the digital fabric of how we communicate, operate, and conduct business in and out of government.

In the recent months I have published over 100 articles blogs. My topic areas have included homeland security, cyber security, defense, CBRNE, IT, R & D, science & technology, public/private partnerships, IoT, innovation. In addition to Government Security News, I have been published in FORBES, Huffington Post, InformationWeek, MIT Sloan Blog, Computerworld, Federal Times, NextGov, Cygnus Security Media, Homeland Security Today, The Hill, Biometric Update, CIO Water Cooler, Government Executive, Bizcatalyst360, Brink, IT Security Planet, Christian Science Monitor, and others.

I have also been very active on the speaking circuit at a variety of conferences and events at Universities and forums over the past year. A couple of highlight; a few months back I presented at a workshop sponsored by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Securing Life Sciences Data. I also spoke at George Washington University event about the Cyber Threat Spectrum along with co-panelists John Perren, former Assistant Director, FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, and Lieutenant Colonel Scott Applegate, Strategic Planner, J5, Cyber Policy Division, Joint Chiefs of Staff.  I will be participating soon at USTRANSCOM Senior Leader Cyber Security Roundtable that will include Admiral Michael S. Rogers, who serves as the U.S. Cyber Commander, Director of the National Security Agency, and Chief of the Central Security Service.

As always, thank you for speaking to me and letting me share my perspectives.  GSN serves as an excellent media resource for all those active in the homeland security, cybersecurity,  and national security fields. I strongly encourage others to become regular readers of your publication online and in print.

Please see also link to Government Security News Digital Yearbook:

About Chuck: Chuck Brooks is Vice President of Government Relations & Marketing for Sutherland Government Solutions. He has an extensive policy and technology background both in the public and private sectors. In government, Chuck has served at The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in legislative leadership roles at The Science & Technology Directorate, the Domestic Nuclear Defense Organization, and FEMA (on detail during Hurricane Katrina). He served as a top Advisor to the late Senator Arlen Specter on Capitol Hill covering security and technology issues on Capitol Hill.  He currently serves as subject Matter Expert to The Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center (HDIAC), a Department of Defense (DOD) sponsored organization through the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC).  He also served in law enforcement as an Auxiliary Police Officer for Arlington, Virginia. In industry, Chuck was a Technology Partner Advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and he currently sits on the advisory boards of several corporations and organizations involved in cybersecurity and homeland security, including the Safe America Foundation. In academia, Chuck was an Adjunct Faculty Member at Johns Hopkins University where he taught a graduate course on homeland security for two years. He has an MA in International relations from the University of Chicago, a BA in Political Science from DePauw University, and a Certificate in International Law from The Hague Academy of International Law.  Chuck is well recognized as a thought leader and subject matter expert on Cybersecurity, homeland security, and emerging technologies. In 2016, he was named “Cybersecurity Marketer of the Year by the Cybersecurity Excellence Awards. LinkedIn named Chuck as one of “The Top 5 Tech People to Follow on LinkedIn” out of their 450 million members. Chuck has published dozens of articles in publications such as Forbes, Federal Times, Computer World, The Hill, Huffington Post, Government Technology, InformationWeek, and of course Government Security News on the technology and security topics. He is also a select “Passcode Influencer” for the Christian Science Monitor on information security issues. Chuck is a frequent speaker at conferences and events and his professional industry affiliations include being the Chairman of CompTIA’s New and Emerging Technology Committee, and as a member of The AFCEA Cybersecurity Committee. Chuck has also served as a judge for five Government Security News industry homeland security awards events. 

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