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The Cyber Defense Review

Jack Voltaic®: Bolstering Critical Infrastructure Resilience

By Major General Robin L. Fontes | Major Erik Korn | Lieutenant Colonel Doug Fletcher | Major Jason Hillman | Lieutenant Colonel Erica Mitchell | Major Steven Whitham | November 18, 2020

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), municipal critical infrastructure has become an ideal target for a range of cyber threat actors including near-peer competitors seeking geopolitical gains and decentralized cyber criminals attempting to hold cities captive for monetary gain. With municipalities predominantly partnering with the private sector for operation of national critical infrastructure as defined in Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 21, cities, states, and industry entities find themselves on the front lines—possibly the first line of defense—against a perpetual barrage of attacks in cyberspace. Accordingly, a dynamic shift from traditional conflict in the physical world to a homeland defense posture in cyberspace reveals several potential gaps with regard to handling emergency situations, coordinating response efforts, and restoring basic services for citizens.[3] This article seeks to highlight this dynamic environment, and the inherent gaps that exist in bolstering critical infrastructure resilience. Accordingly, the Jack Voltaic® (JV) research framework discussed in this article explores the interconnections among municipal, state, and federal response efforts during a cyber emergency scenario, with added emphasis on critical findings and themes from its Jack Voltaic® 2.5 workshop series. This effort brought together key regional stakeholders from across various levels of governance, the private sector, and academia to discuss the 
findings of previous JV exercises, lessons learned, and how similar efforts can strengthen critical infrastructure, community resilience, and a whole-of-nation approach to handling cyber threats.[4] This article will highlight common findings and themes from multiple exercises and workshops that further reinforce current JV research and the Jack Voltaic® 3.0 Legal and Policy Tabletop Exercise (TTX). Finally, this article concludes with a detailed discussion about JV 3.0, which is scheduled to execute in September 2020.



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