Space & Cybersecurity Symposium 2020
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. Are we prepared? How can public and private sector agencies incorporating cybersecurity into their supply chains, as they build the next generation of spacecraft? Will we have the workforce needed to defend our nation and commercial interests tomorrow?
Watch Sessions on Youtube
On October 5 - 8, 2020, Cal Poly hosted a series of solutions-focused conversations on the intersection of space and cybersecurity. The webinars featured keynote interviews and panel sessions with leaders from the United States Space Force, industry, and higher education. Space & Cybersecurity Symposium 2020 brings together academia, government, and commercial agencies, to discuss the latest strategies needed to secure our private and public space resources and supply chains from state and non-state cyber adversaries. And, to share approaches for building the 21st-century workforce resources required to meet these goals.
The symposium featured key leaders from academia, government, industry and military. Speakers included California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis; Stewart Knox, undersecretary of California’s Labor & Workforce Development Agency; Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, commander, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angles Air Force Base; Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, commander of the Combined Force Space Component for U.S. Space Command, and Space Operations 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.
The United States Space Force Approach to Cybersecurity
Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson
On October 5, 2020, Cal Poly’s Space and Cybersecurity began with a keynote address from Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson. Thompson is the commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. He is responsible for approximately 6,000 employees nationwide and an annual budget of $7 billion. As the Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space, General Thompson manages the research, design, development, acquisition and sustainment of satellites, and the associated command and control systems.
During his hour presentation, General Thompson began with an overview of the Space and Missile Center and discussed how space data is currently being used from GPS to helping California combat fires spreading through the state. “We should always be asking ourselves what else can space data be used for and how can we more rapidly get that space data to stakeholders so that they can use it for purposes of good,” said Thompson. “Most Americans use space in before they have their first cup of coffee in the morning.”
Additionally, Thompson provided the audience insight on the following:
- The space landscape has changed rapidly over the past few years.
- How the American Way of Life depends on space.
- 80 nations have a space program.
- Mandate to integrate cybersecurity into space programs.
- Value of space to the world.
- Challenges of cybersecurity in the space domain.
- Governance of space as it becomes more congested.
- Cyber threats in space representing a new era of warfare.
- Machine learning and artificial intelligence.
- Changing the definition of critical infrastructure.
- The impact of cybersecurity and space on the world’s global supply chain and mission assurance.
- Implementation of cybersecurity for new systems vs. cybersecurity for older systems.
- Opportunities for start-ups and entrepreneurs (Space Pitch Day)
- Adversaries cybersecurity weapons in space
Thompson stated that now is one of the most exciting times to be in the Space Program since the Apollo days. He concluded his talk regarding the future of space with a quote from General Bernard Schriever, “The world has an ample supply of people who can always come up with a dozen good reasons why a new idea will not work and should not be tried, but the people who produce progress are a breed apart. They have the imagination, the courage, and the persistence to find solutions.”
Defending Satellite & Space Infrastructure from Cyber Threats
Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, Roland Coelho
Major General John E. Shaw, Combined Force Space Component Commander, U.S. Space Command, Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, USAF joins Roland Coelho, CEO, Maverick Space Systems to discuss the importance of defending the satellite and space infrastructure from cyber threats. The conversation emphasizes the importance of seeing how different industries can work together and combine their efforts to protect against cyber threats for the United States and its allies. Rolamd Coelho reminds the audience that “with fast and rapid innovation comes the opportunity for threats”, meaning that now more than ever it is imperative for aerospace and cybersecurity industries to join their efforts to combat against threats to our satellites.
Critical infrastructure and new capabilities are dependent on the close working relationship between space and cybersecurity. As Maj. Gen. Shaw states, “Space and cyber are forever intertwined... we will always need the cutting-edge cybersecurity capabilities that we develop as a nation or as a society to protect our space capabilities and our cyber capabilities are going to need space capabilities in the future as well.”
As countries around the globe continue to advance and innovate, it is also essential to understand the supply chain and assess where the United States’ assets come from, especially in relation to security. Maj. Gen. Shaw and Coelho emphasize the idea that there will always be a dual use of supply chain components and we need to continue to level the playing field and set standards for cybersecurity in space. For this reason, it is critical to continue educating and upskilling our workforce across the nation to prepare our industries for the decade of tech.
Leading in to the digital revolution and combining the forces of the space and cyber industries, Maj. Gen. Shaw elaborates on why upskilling students and professionals on cyber skills is essential to the development of new defenses against cyber crime. “Cybersecurity in the future, whether it's for our space systems or for other critical infrastructure, is going to be a dynamic fight that happens at a machine-to-machine speed and dynamic”, says Maj. Gen. Shaw. He also mentions that as technology is rapidly advancing in this digital era, it is “not too far off that we will have machines writing their own code in real time to fight off attacks”. It is important for the country to be prepared and constantly evolve, react to, and stay head of threats to our security systems and infrastructure.
Another significant idea to consider is the rapid evolution of human involvement in space. “It is only a matter of time before we have a private citizens or private corporations putting people in space not only for tourism but for economic activity” states Maj. Gen. Shaw. With the potential to develop privately sponsored trips into space, this addresses another point of facilitating a secure environment for a larger societal involvement in space.
As our country, and the world, move forward in this decade of tech, we must continue to adapt and equip our industries with the tools and skills needed to secure our data and information. Roland Coelho closes the conversation by mentioning the importance of “creating that environment that allows the aerospace supply chain and small businesses like (Maverick Space Systems) to be able to meet all the requirements to protect and safeguard our data but also create a way that we can also thrive and it won't stifle innovation”.
Defending Launch Infrastructure from Cyber Threats
Col. Anthony J. Mastalir
Col. Anthony J. Mastalir spoke at the California Cybersecurity Institute’s Space and Cyber Symposium on October 5th, 2020. Col Anthony J. Mastalir is the Commander, 30th Space Wing and Western Launch and Test Range, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
Mastalir emphasized the value of protecting data and modernizing all aspects of launch preparedness to assure US dominance in space. As technology evolves, our options for innovation and US superiority evolve, but so do threats to our security in cyber and space.
According to Mastalir, echoing White House and Space Force statements, space is no longer benign, but instead a warfighting domain on which military power on Earth rely upon. “Our potential adversaries have been developing and fielding weapons designed to field this nation’s advantage in space.”
“There is no space superiority without assured access to space,” Mastalir said. This point of access is where Vandenburg comes into play; assuring the security of the launch sites means assuring access to space.
Mastalir quoted the Chief of Space Operations, Jay Ramond, saying “‘Access to space cannot be assumed. It must be underpinned by strength.” He added that through the strength of personnel, discipline, systems, innovation, speed, and agility, the US will be able “to launch and test above the rest.”
The Space Force’s evolving mission lies at the nexus of policies, doctrines, and directives, programmatic realities, competing priorities, and an evolving customer base. These competing aspects of the mission challenge the Space Force and Western Range. However, Mastalir believes that support from executive and legislative branches will allow them to overcome these challenges.
Additionally, Mastalir calls on industry and academia. He says that industry can lead space innovation “if we let it.” Mastalir calls for cooperation between commercial industry and military operations to balance the “go fast, fail fast” mentality with the rigorous governmental regulations and protocols. He cites academia as a resource for creating a robust coalition for innovation as well.
Overall, Mastalir provides an overview of Space Force plans for investments to increase modernization, efficiency, and resiliency of the Western Range. He concludes saying that the challenges are far outweighed by the opportunities ahead.
Space Cybersecurity: The Department of Defense Perspective
Arsenio “Bong” Gumahad II, Chris Henson
From the National Security Agency and Department of Defense's perspectives, Chris Henson, Technical Director of Space and Weapons Cybersecurity Solutions, and Director of C4/ISR Arsenio “Bong” Gumahad II describes space as sharing common traits with other warfighting domains, requiring the DoD to take a strategic approach in addressing cyber vulnerabilities in space. This approach ranges from the DoD being a key leader for government agencies, academia, and private industry, to leveraging talent networks and proactively recruiting to address cybersecurity workforce gaps.
Gumahad mentions there are three key areas in which the U.S. must approach space: developing a whole of government approach in coordination with the private sector and working with allies, prioritizing investments in resiliency, innovation, and adaptive innovations, and lastly, responding rapidly and effectively in utilizing technology and leveraging opportunities. Henson furthers the importance of executing on this strategy, stating that “a risk accepted by one is shared by all” in cyber and space.
With private industry continuing to make advances in space, it is vital that vulnerabilities, as space will be highly contested by adversaries, and the U.S. will have to harden space assets to be successful in future conflicts. Both Henson and Gumahad drive home that in order for the U.S. to find this success, traditional and non-traditional talent pipelines must be explored to continue expanding the cyber and space defense workforce.
Cybersecurity Workforce Development Through Public, Private, Partnerships
Arsenio “Bong” Gumahad II, Dr. Jeffrey D. Armstrong, Steven D. Jacques
The cybersecurity workforce gap in the U.S. may be nearing half a million people, but anyone concerned about that future of cybersecurity in America shouldn’t despair just yet. We can help narrow that gap through public-private partnerships, according to the participants in Cal Poly’s Space & Cybersecurity Symposium session on cybersecurity workforce development. Cal Poly President Dr. Jeffrey Armstrong, National Security Space Association founder Steven Jacques, and C4ISR Directorate Director Arsenio “Bong” Gumahad II came together to discuss what sort of opportunities collaborations for cybersecurity workforce development already exist and what they hope to see more of in the future.
Until recently, space was dominated by government programs and government funding, but that is no longer the case. In particular, the emergence of a robust private sector interested in space, provides opportunities for new sorts of public-private partnerships. Armstrong points to Cal Poly as an exemplar for how these partnerships can help narrow the workforce gap. Cal Poly has already demonstrated its commitment to helping students receive the type of hands-on training beneficial in the workforce through its California Cybersecurity Institute (CCI).
And CCI, which exists in partnership with the California National Guard, is just one of many public-private partnerships Cal Poly students can participate in. Just earlier this year Cal Poly’s CubeSat Lab announced a partnership with NASA to work on developing technologies related to cube satellites. Armstrong also mentioned partnerships with Northrup-Grumman, Lockeheed Martin, SpaceX, Boeing, Raytheon, JPL and Vandenberg Air Force Base. Opportunities like these help build the workforce necessary to keep American interests in space safe. According to Armstrong, “More than 4,500 Cal Poly graduates list aerospace or defense as their employment sector on LinkedIn. Many of our engineers have jobs lined up a year before they graduate.”
Jacques agreed that attracting and training students was important. He said, “Promoting this and getting students at early ages and mentoring them and throwing internships at them is so paramount to the whole cycle.” The National Security Space Association was created for the purpose of fostering collaboration between industry and government officials in order to better develop and mold a future workforce.
Gumahad urged the Department of Defense (DOD) and other government agencies to take advantage of the efforts being put forth by the private sector and education institutions by finding ways to retain and attract talent. “The pipeline needs to be strengthened of getting people through. Start them young, get them through college...because we’re going to need them to be in place in a period of about a decade or so.”
However, while recruiting and training students will help grow the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow, the cybersecurity workforce gap of today is still a problem. That’s why it’s also crucial for the government to make it easier for agencies to work with cybersecurity experts in the private sector. According to Gumahad, “The DOD has done a good job, over the past couple years, of trying to reduce the burden of working with us.” One such program is the Cyber Information Technology Exchange, which creates opportunities for temporary exchange of DoD and private sector employees who work in the field of information technology.
Public-private partnerships have an opportunity to benefit the U.S. from both a security and economic standpoint. Private companies and federal agencies alike should look for new ways to engage in creative solutions for attracting talent early. Otherwise, we may find ourselves in the future with an even wider gap.
From Data to Decisions: Using Virtualized Ground Networks to Get Your Space Data Faster
Bill Carlin, Paul Jurasin
AWS Ground Station is providing secure ground networks at lower costs and higher speeds and reliability than ever before using the cloud.
With the growing market need for a secure yet speedy way to collect and analyze satellite data, Bill Carlin, business development lead for AWS Ground Station, shed light on the innovative “virtual network” solution provided by Amazon Web Services at the Space & Cybersecurity Symposium on October 6th hosted by Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
“In general, what we’re trying to do is co-locate the ground network with our cloud network. The idea being if we do that, we effectively put everything from the satellite down, except the satellite itself, in the cloud.”
Why the cloud? One major advantage that Carlin highlights is better security.
“We’re building our security architecture inside the standard AWS security architecture,” he said. “[T]he client and the client’s data are effectively in the cloud protected inside that model.” Consolidation at this level means that there are fewer vulnerable junctions where data could be read or manipulated by bad actors than there are when using traditional networks.
There are also significant improvements to data usability. While using traditional ground networks have required managing cumbersome, high-latency infrastructure in order to downlink, transfer and process data, Carlin promises a streamlined solution that allows companies to collect and analyze more data, faster. Companies can choose to either manage a few satellites manually or automate a larger network to collect data as often as desired.
“Our approach has been to take the more difficult of the configurations [and] work to that first,” Carlin said, explaining that AWS Ground Station has been optimized for earth observation and radar mapping which require large data formats and high speeds, and narrowband continuous signal data, the kind commonly used to track airplanes or ships, which require dispersed ground networks and frequent collection and analysis.
“The virtual network concept really optimizes for if you like the ubiquitous network; the one that touches or communicates with your satellite frequently, but also handles large volumes of information quickly and gets it to where it needs to go quickly.”
Carlin cited a wide variety of general use cases for AWS Ground Station but noted specifically that it has the potential to significantly improve the emergency response effectiveness by unifying terrestrial data with satellite imagery in the cloud for advanced analysis.
One critical advantage the AWS Ground virtual network model offers is a significantly lower barrier to entry for smaller companies who may not have the capital to invest in building a ground network for data collection via satellite.
As space technology grows, so do plans to install internet, storage, and cloud systems in space, not to mention a broadband network on the moon. Carlin hopes that the continued growth of AWS Ground Station can help companies solve more terrestrial problems in the short-term, while paving the way for the more long-term space-based tech to take orbit.
Preparing Students for the Jobs of Today & Tomorrow
Dr. Amy Fleischer, William J. Britton, Dr. Trung T. Pham
Preparing the next generation of cybersecurity professionals demands more than just a degree in computer programming. “We need to engage students at a young age and we need to do it now,” implying that sparking a student’s interest in cybersecurity once they’ve started a degree is too late. As discussed during the “Preparing Students for the Jobs of Today and Tomorrow” panel at Cal Poly’s Space and Cybersecurity Symposium, early education programs, combined with robust collaborative training and skill enhancements are recipes for shrinking a growing workforce gap.
Students are hungry for real-world experiences that can inspire them towards meaningful careers or at the very least expose them to new opportunities. Starting from as early as elementary school academia, industry, and the public sector need to engage fresh talent and provide opportunities that may be out of reach for underprivileged students. As said by Cal Poly’s College of Engineering Dean, Dr. Amy Fleischer, “industry partnerships are critical towards preparing students for the future, as the field is evolving so quickly, and making sure we adapt our facilities and our curriculum to stay in line with what we’re seeing in industry is incredibly important.” According, to Fleischer, Public-Private partnerships have proven to provide relevant opportunities and skillsets that are often unreachable within the classroom experience. Additionally, extra-curricular campus activities, for example like CubeSat, offer applied learning in a lab environment, with the end goal of delivering a product for mission-critical work for both industry and government. Cal Poly is the founding home of the CubeSat program, with more launches than any other program, and maintains worldwide leadership on CubeSat standards. This is the type of industry exposure that needs to be normalized for students preparing for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Student Clubs also provide unique opportunities to explore and enhance skillsets not provided within the four walls of a traditional classroom.
Juxtaposed, cyber opportunities need to expand outside of the technical boundaries. As Bill Britton, Lt. Col. Ret., Cal Poly Vice President Information Technology/CIO & California Cybersecurity Institute Director, describes “it’s time we eliminate the proverbial line that exists between liberal arts and more technical degrees. Important fields of study like ethics, communications, and public policy must be in the mix, with these fields focusing on the impacts of a more technical world on society. It’s not just technical degrees that need cybersecurity training, it’s all degrees.” No doubt there has been a significant change over the last ten years regarding the impact of technology on degrees. Students are taking more cross-disciplinary courses, getting supplemental certifications along with degrees, and seeking out more technical experiences no matter their background. As Bill Britton pointed out, “unlike before, students now have to understand digital, understand cloud, and understand them in the context of a space environment.” Overall, it’s the demand and expectation of a widened experiential level. Students must be “cyber aware, cyber knowledgeable, and cyber cognizant citizens who understand cyber in the context of relevant structures.” Dr. Trung T. Pham, Faculty at Cyberworx and Department of Computer Science, United States Air Force Academy, further iterated that incoming professionals need to look at the greater impact of the decisions being made and continue to move system boundaries out until it hits intersects with other disciplines. And most importantly, verbal skills to explain what you're doing and where it's found.”
As academic institutions supplement the degree experience with exposure to real-time cybersecurity threats through industry engagement, extra-curricular opportunities for all levels and disciplines, as well as focus on soft skills that enhance the communication of complex ideas, students are better equipped for the future.
Industry Success in Developing Space-Cybersecurity Resources
Brig. Gen. Steve “Bucky” Butow, Maj. Gen. Clinton E. Crosier, Preston Miller
Traditionally, the realm of space was limited to governments with the resources to invest in a space program. The current landscape of the space industry is seeing an explosion of commercial growth. However, with efficient launch platforms and a multitude of new space industries and opportunities comes the increased risk and attention by adversaries whose goal it may be to disrupt communication, gain unauthorized access, or disable the vehicle entirely.
The future workforce of space professionals will require expertise in multiple specialties. New engineers are being trained to take the cyber domain into account. Public and private sector partnerships are leading the educational wave of the industry by providing curriculum and funding to ensure the growing space industry has the professionals required to grow.
A cornerstone of design going forward is the “Acknowledgement that our space systems are just as susceptible to cyberattacks as terrestrial systems.”
Creating systems and vehicles that are both open and secure with cooperation from multiple government agencies, private companies, and cloud platforms is a tremendous undertaking. However, the next generation of engineers ready to take on this challenge will create new industries and redefine what was previously thought impossible.
DxHub: Innovation and the Student Perspective
Danielle Knell, Paul Jurasin
On October 7, 2020, Cal Poly’s Space and Cybersecurity Symposium featured a session with Cal Poly Digital Transformation Hub Director, Paul Jurasin and Project Manager, Danielle Knell as they provide insight into the innovative work being done by the DxHub in the space and cybersecurity realm and to give a student's view of what a DxHub experience is like from a hands-on learning perspective.
The session began with an overview of Cal Poly’s Digital Transformation Hub (DxHub) powered by Amazon Web Services. The DxHub applies Amazon’s human-centered, ‘Working Backwards’ innovation methodology to tackle challenges facing government, education, and non-profit organizations. The DxHub team leads public sector organizations through innovation and solution workshops structured to generate big ideas and impactful solutions.
Danielle Knell shared her journey from beginning as an intern with the DxHub over two years ago to now working as a project manager. She is currently working on a project through a grant from the CSU systems to virtualize the learning landscape. Knell is leading a project on developing a chemistry class using virtual and augmented reality. Knell was one of the first student interns at the DxHub, as now there are over 20 student interns. Knell discussed many of the challenges she has worked on from the World Bank to working with Cal Poly’s California Cybersecurity Institute on developing a forensic app for the law enforcement community.
Jurasin shared recent examples of challenges from working with the City of Santa Monica, CA, on their E Scooter problem to assisting ranchers through the use of geolocation to track and monitor cattle. Students who intern with the DxHub come from various majors such as political science, liberal arts, industrial manufacturing engineering, and communications. All students play a key role in the Dx Hub process. Knell commented that students have worked on other challenges on human rights, public safety, forensics, and space. To view current challenges from the DxHub, please visit https://dxhub.calpoly.edu/challenges/
Currently, the DxHub is working through a grant from the California Advanced Supply Chain Analysis and Diversification Effort (CASCADE). CASCADE is an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Defense to bolster California's defense supply chain cybersecurity resilience, innovation capacity and diversification strategies, and to support the growth and sustainment of California's Cybersecurity workforce through cybersecurity-related education curricula, training, and apprenticeship programs. The DxHub is working on a space and cybersecurity challenges in the following areas: satellite design, launch capabilities, satellite data solutions, secure space communications, workforce development, and educational opportunities.
There is no cost for public organizations to participate in a challenge. Organizations may apply to participate in a challenge at https://dxhub.calpoly.edu/get-involved/public-sector.
Addressing the Cybersecurity Workforce Gap
There are over 37,000 cybersecurity unfilled positions in the state of California, alone. That’s a number Stewart Knox, Undersecretary, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, is thinking about when it comes to the role of the California public workforce system in meeting the needs of employers in the state: “The California Workforce Development Agency is working to lead the charge on how we have equity in those jobs and also leading in a way that brings good jobs to California and to the people of California a good education system in a way that those skills are met for the employers here in California and the nation.”
He is acutely aware of the important role California’s defense manufacturers, and their feeder companies, play as employers in California but as leaders in our country’s national defense. As a result, Mr. Knox emphasized the importance of expanding the state’s training programs to make sure those California companies continue to lead.
But it’s not just looking at today’s workforce needs. The state’s workforce development system is thinking about early career exposure in the K-12 system, “This is where we need to bring our youth into an age on the uses of technology and the levels of where education can take them, K-12, but it’s also looking at how the community college system links to that and the university system links above and beyond.”
And he encouraged participation of employers in being part of the solution. Mr. Knox focused his talk on the role of employers have in sharing with the public workforce system what their needs are so that the systems can meet those needs quickly. Importantly, he pointed out that employers might think they need employees with advanced degrees and yet it may be a graduate of a community college that brings the right skills to the table.
“The connections between employers, K-12 and community colleges is such a key component. That if we can build in internships, work experiences, job training, apprenticeship programs, pre-apprenticeship programs into a design where those students at all levels are getting exposure to the opportunities within space and cybersecurity, I think that alone will help start to solve the problem of having 37,000 openings in California.”
Further, Mr. Knox covered how the state of California looks at where to focus its attention with respect to industries experiencing growth and those in decline. “The State is looking at cybersecurity, Defense Department contractors, the supply chains within those, healthcare and service industries. We are looking at the programs that we develop to make sure the skill sets of those folks are transferable across industries.”
California’s Role in Supporting America’s Space & Cybersecurity Future
William J. Britton, John Furrier, Eleni Kounalakis
To conclude the Space & Cybersecurity Symposium hosted by Cal Poly California Cybersecurity Institute’s (CCI), Eleni Kounalakis, Lieutenant Governor of California, discusses the important role that the state of California plays in America’s space and cybersecurity future. As both the aerospace and cybersecurity industries continue to grow and develop, California serves as a leader. “California has been at the forefront of the aerospace industry for more than a century through all the major innovations in aerospace... and America’s best trained and most experienced aerospace and technology workforce lives here in California” states Lt. Gov. Kounalakis, emphasizing California’s involvement in industry developments.
California is no stranger to adapting to change and challenges. “California possesses a strong spirit of innovation, risk-taking, and entrepreneurship,” says Eleni Kounalakis. With the drive and motivation to come together as a state and overcome several obstacles, Lt. Gov. Kounalakis claims “the threats around cybersecurity are serious but not unlike all of the challenges we face in California we have the tools and fortitude to address them”. However, in order to address these challenges, it is imperative for California to train and educate their workforce. Education is at the heart of a skilled workforce and providing both students and professionals with the training that will reinforce California’s leadership in the aerospace and cybersecurity industries. Lt. Gov. Kounalakis nods to the success of Cal Poly CCI, stating “Cal Poly CCI does incredible work bringing together academia, industry and government, training next generation of cyber experts, and researching emerging cybersecurity issues”.
Not only is upskilling our workforce important, but it is also necessary to involve students at a young age and prepare them to pursue careers in the aerospace and cybersecurity industries. Currently, there is an abundance of jobs in cybersecurity that need to be filled. As a society, California needs to address the gap of cybersecurity jobs in our state, which is why there is an important role for public-private partnerships. The state needs input from industry in order to prepare the next generation for the digital revolution. Lt. Gov. Kounalakis suggests that California focus on informing students of young, evolving fields like cybersecurity to make them aware of these career opportunities that are available for students and professionals with all different types of background and experience.
Bill Britton, Director of Cal Poly CCI, followed this conversation with Lt. Gov. Kounalakis by discussing the need for digital, cloud, and cybersecurity to be involved in solving the threats to the state and also the nation, and the how important it is to educate individuals prior to the employment level. In efforts to meet these needs, Cal Poly CCI recently hosted their virtual California Cyber Innovation Challenge, which is the championship cybersecurity competition for California high school and middle school students. The challenge is developed in an immersive, digital environment that allows students to perform digital forensics and solve a fictional cyber satellite crime. This challenge is a great example of educating students at a younger age to prepare them to enter careers in the cybersecurity and space industries. Bill Britton also mentions how next year, this event will take place on a global and international scale, just as the cybersecurity industry continues to progress on a global level.
Britton states that the nexus of space and cybersecurity includes a multinational support force, and students should interact on that level now in this digital environment to better prepare them for future careers in these industries.
Evidently, the state of California continues to be a leading innovator in the space and cybersecurity industries and it is important for students and professionals to continue developing the skills needed to create a strong workforce.