“In nearly eight years as Secretary of the Navy, I faced a steep challenge on how to manage cyber threats at the pace of 8 million attempted intrusions a day in an organization of 900,000 people”

– Ray Mabus, Secretary of Navy


As Secretary of the Navy, I spent a lot of time focusing on presence—having the Navy and Marine Corps not just in the right place at the right time, but in the right place all the time. United States sailors and Marines are stationed around the globe around the clock as the nation’s first line of defense: flexible, adaptable and ready for any challenge on the horizon, and a firm, steady deterrent against those bad actors who might consider bad actions. It was my job to make sure that they had the policies and resources needed to play this important role in our nation’s—and global—security.

Nowhere is that need for presence—persistent, continuous presence—stronger than in cyberspace. Increasingly, we are seeing a world where the weapon of choice is a cyberattack, and breached data can be as consequential as a breached border. In fact, these types of warfare are closely linked. In Crimea and in Georgia, for example, Russian cyberattacks preceded Russian troops. In the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Seal Team Six brought out hard drives found in the compound—because that data could give us a huge advantage in fighting al-Qaeda. Breaches at private companies pepper the headlines, and more than 40 municipalities have been the victim of ransomware attacks this year alone. Nation-states and criminals—and sometimes a combination of the two—are stepping up sophisticated cyberattacks daily.

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