Hundreds from Air Force, businesses gather to talk cybersecurity

Secretary of Air Force speaks at IT conference in Montgomery

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Top U.S. officials and experts are encouraging collaboration between businesses and the Air Force to protect U.S. assets from outside threats.

Richard Aldridge with Air Force Business and Enterprise Systems said there are cyber-attacks every day.

"We as a nation and as an Air Force suffer millions of infiltrations a day," Aldridge said.

He said people are trying to steal technology and retrieve private combat information and data.

"China and Russia are frankly at our level in the cyber domain," Aldridge said.

Hundreds of private and public companies and Air Force personnel gathered at the Air Force Information Technology and Cyberpower Conference in Montgomery.

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson spoke at the event outlining how the Air Force will buy equipment from private companies instead of creating it in-house.

"Some things will be off the shelf from companies that have developed capabilities for other industries that might have application for us," Wilson said.

Aldridge said many times private companies can develop technology faster than the government.

"What we're recognizing in the cyber domain is things are happening so fast we can't spend 10 to 15 years to think about something and research it and come up with an answer on our own. What we're looking at is the private industry," he said.

For instance, they could look at the banking and logistic industries to see how they handle security threats.

"How do we bring that innovative technology into the DOD specifically into the Air Force and adopt it much faster than trying to figure it out on our own?" Aldridge said.

Wilson said utilizing private companies will free up cyber-trained airmen to focus on cybersecurity threats, instead of fixing computer problems.

"All of this adds up to faster decisions, faster analysis, faster strikes, faster assessments and more success in combat," she said. "It matters to all of us that we keep innovating constantly."

VT Miltope, a Montgomery-based company, creates hardware, like computers, for soldiers. Sandy Morris with the company said these conferences help inform the company of the latest technologies.

"It's great because you can get all your information," Morris said. "It helps you be a better designer or a better provider of hardware for the military."

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