Cal Poly’s California Cybersecurity Institute to Host Virtual Space & Cybersecurity Symposium October 5-8

Cal Poly will host leaders from academia, government and commercial agencies during an Oct. 5-8 virtual symposium to discuss the latest strategies to protect U.S. commercial and government space assets from cyber adversaries.

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This online webinar, hosted by the university’s California Cybersecurity Institute, will include keynote interviews and panel discussions with top state, federal and military leaders in the space and cybersecurity industry to address technology and supply chain support for the defense of spacecraft, and developing the 21st century workforce to support America’s increasing private and public space resources.

“During my career, I have watched massive technological change take place as our world journeyed from legacy systems to the connected environment to the Internet of Things,” said Bill Britton, Cal Poly vice president for information technology and director of the California Cybersecurity Institute. “The move from analog to digital systems and the rapid development in cloud is changing how we work in space. This symposium is the opportunity to discuss these changes and what are the workforce requirements for the future.”

More than a dozen presenters will include: California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis; Stewart Knox, undersecretary of California’s Labor & Workforce Development Agency; Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, commander of the Combined Force Space Component for U.S. Space Command at Vandenberg Air Force Base; Bong Gumahad, who directs the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4/ISR) Division in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment; and Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, leader of a university at the forefront of nanosatellite design, development, deployment and ground station tracking.

National and commercial investment in the space economy is growing at an unprecedented rate, and as the world’s space-based infrastructure expands, so do cybersecurity risks. Defending America’s space assets from cyberattacks is now a national priority, which includes strategies, monitors and training the people who will do the jobs, Britton said.

Workforce development is critical to addressing the expanding knowledge gap that is impacting all areas of the economy. The four-day seminar will discuss the critical demand for technology specialists to provide cybersecurity as well as the technology needs of today’s sophisticated space systems.

“Through Learn by Doing, Cal Poly has produced Day One-ready cyber experts who know how to defend, secure and tactically engage cyber adversaries,” said Armstrong, who will be part of an Oct. 6 panel discussion about the importance of developing public-private partnerships between governmental and commercial agencies to address cybersecurity. “We remain committed to cybersecurity thanks to our connection to the California Cybersecurity Institute, the Cal Poly-Northrop Grumman Cyber Lab and a curriculum all devoted to preparing our students for future careers.”

Britton, also a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, and Amy Fleischer, dean of Cal Poly’s College of Engineering, will host a student-focused Oct. 7 panel session to address what businesses can do to engage and develop the next generation of cybersecurity workers.

Other sessions will include perspectives from government and military officials.

Topics will include: the U.S. Space Force creation last December and the national importance of space and the crucial role it plays in building and supporting the nation’s military and commercial space operations; the importance cybersecurity plays in securing America’s satellite and space infrastructure in an era of ever-expanding governmental and private space-based systems; and space cybersecurity from the federal government’s view and the role commercial service providers play in developing and integrating vital space-based resources

Lt. Gov. Kounalakis will lead the Oct. 8 final session that ties together the conversations from the symposium’s speakers to address the Golden State’s unique capabilities — its economic development, academic focus and successful public-private partnerships — in supporting America’s space and cybersecurity future.

The Cal Poly College of Engineering understands there has been an enormous amount of turmoil and transition due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). As we continue offering support to our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, we also continue providing critical updates as well as college highlights. Ours is a college full of creative and bright engineers and staff. For more information on COVID-19 visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For more information on how Cal Poly is responding to COVID-19, visit the Cal Poly Coronavirus website Coronavirus website.


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