Coast Guard Releases Updated Cyber Strategic Outlook

The Coast Guard released an updated Cyber Strategic Outlook August 3 to address the rising threat of cyber attacks against critical maritime systems essential to the nation’s economy and security.

The 2021 Cyber Strategic Outlook is designed to chart a path to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving cyber domain, where threats to information and operational technology systems outpace those from the traditional physical domains of air, sea, land and space.

“Cyber-attacks against the United States are one of the most significant threats to economic and military power since World War II,” the Coast Guard said in the announcement.

“The Coast Guard is taking important and necessary steps to increase safety and security where physical and cyber threats converge,” said Adm. Karl L. Schultz, commandant of the Coast Guard. “We maintain strong relationships with our U.S. port partners; we hold leadership roles on Area Maritime Security and Harbor Safety committees; and we have the technological expertise to integrate cyber awareness and resilience within the Marine Transportation System.”

Sign up for Waterway Journal's weekly newsletter.Our weekly newsletter delivers the latest inland marine news straight to your inbox including breaking news, our exclusive columns and much more.

The 2021 Cyber Strategic Outlook is organized into three lines of effort that ensure the Coast Guard: is mission ready in cyberspace; protects the Marine Transportation System in cyberspace; and identifies and combats adversaries throughout cyberspace.

These efforts will be underpinned by the development and sustainment of a skilled workforce, intelligence driven operations and domestic and international partnerships to achieve unity of effort, the Coast Guard said.

“In 2015, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Cyber Strategy established cyberspace as a new operational domain for the U.S. Coast Guard,” Schultz said. “This Cyber Strategic Outlook reaffirms that foundation and that we will bring the same ethos, proven doctrine and operational concepts and over 230 years of experience to bear on our operations in and through cyberspace.

“The events of the last five years, including the exploitation of U.S. Coast Guard networks and information, the attacks on maritime critical infrastructure and adversarial efforts to undermine our democratic processes—not just by exploiting networks, but by negatively shaping information—reinforce that cyberspace is a contested domain. Working in close collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, our government partners, foreign allies and the maritime industry, we will act to protect the Marine Transportation System from threats delivered in and through cyberspace, and we will hold accountable those who would do our nation harm through attacks on our networks, operations or the Marine Transportation System.”

For more on the Coast Guard’s Cyber Strategic Outlook, visit