Today Admiral Karl L. Schultz, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard published the Coast Guard Cyber Strategic Outlook. This is a relatively brief document, similar to the Coast Guard’s original, 2015, Cyber Security Strategy. Nonetheless, Admiral Schultz’s clear eyed introduction is a sobering reminder of the threat we all face:
“Cyber attacks against the United States (U.S.) are one of the most significant threats to our economic and military power since World War II. The events of the last five years, including the exploitation of U.S. Coast Guard networks and information, attacks on maritime critical infrastructure, and adversarial efforts to undermine our democratic processes, reinforce that cyberspace is a contested domain.”
The Marine Transportation System features prominently in this document. To address cyber threats to the marine industry, the Cyber Strategic Outlook outlines changes to reporting strategies, implement a risk based regulatory and compliance program, work with CISA and other agencies, and other actions, including developing Cyber Incident Response Plans through Area Maritime Security Committees.
For facility operators, this document is an important reminder to meet the requirements of NVIC 01-20, which requires facilities to incorporate cyber risks into their Facility Security Plans. Seebald and Associates has been working with our clients to meet this requirement since last year. Based on our experience to date, I believe that we are not only helping our clients address and urgent compliance need. We are also helping them improve cooperation between cyber and physical security managers and building a strong security culture.
Independent of any regulatory requirement, I strongly encourage facility and vessel operators to review your cyber security practices. Work with your cyber security experts, including vendors who supply you with critical systems, such as tank/fuel management systems, terminal operating systems, access control, and others. As Admiral Schultz makes clear, our adversaries are tenacious and terrible.