The United States Military Academy at West Point has partnered with the Ostrom Workshop, Kelley School of Business, and the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research to create a library of cybersecurity and resilience content for military base commanders, local leaders and first responders to help better prepare themselves and their communities for cyber attacks.
Indiana University was chosen as a partner in this project due to its wide network of cybersecurity experts and deep operational expertise.
"More than 85 percent of the critical infrastructure in the U.S. is in private hands and the core military infrastructure is dependent on it," said Scott Shackelford, executive director of the Ostrom Workshop and the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research (CACR) and provost professor at the IU Kelley School of Business. "We are helping to bridge the gap between these three entities – base commanders, first responders and community leaders – to start thinking more proactively about future threats."
The $506,000 grant from the Department of Defense mobilizes resources from the Ostrom Workshop, CACR, OmniSOC – the shared security operations center for higher education and research – and the Kelley School of Business. IU faculty members are invited to contribute their expertise on topics such as resilience, smart cities, cybersecurity and the interdependence of critical infrastructure. The library is an extension of the Army Operations Manual, a guide with detailed information and procedures.
This partnership is making possible new course content in the Spring 2024 IU Cybersecurity Clinic class to help assess the lesson plans and content created for the library. Once the effectiveness of the library is evaluated, it will open to other universities and key stakeholders to use. The evaluation focuses on the effectiveness of bringing awareness to real-world cybersecurity incidents, hands-on exercises, benefits of service-learning projects, improving the coordination of military base commanders, community leaders and first responders and informing best practices.
The first tabletop exercise, sponsored by OmniSOC, will occur next year. Base commanders, community leaders and first responders will convene and practice an infrastructure crisis, exploring how to best approach a cybersecurity infrastructure incident in real-time.
"These exercises are an opportunity to practice how different entities work together in difficult situations," Shackelford said. "In these scenarios, we are discussing who in the nearby community would be involved, which emergency responders would be needed, how are community leaders and private businesses working together along with base commanders to address issues affecting a military base."
Karen Guttieri, associate professor at the Army Cyber Institute at West Point, said the collaboration is a big step forward for the Army Cyber Institute program focused on cyber critical infrastructure resilience. The project aims to build upon the insights gained from the Institute’s Jack Voltaic™ exercises that are referenced in the Army Operations manual. Jack Voltaic highlighted the potentially cascading impact of cyber incidents on essential systems, the interplay of social and technical challenges and the need to engage diverse stakeholders in resilience development.
"The Army Cyber Institute at West Point chose IU because of its exceptional facilities, expertise and active involvement in the fields of cybersecurity and cyber policy," Guttieri said. "Professor Shackelford has shown exemplary leadership in promoting interdisciplinary dialogue on cyber critical infrastructure resilience and IU is an exceptional partner to expand upon the lessons gained from the Jack Voltaic™ program."