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On April 8-9, 2014, the Cyber Security Forum Initiative (CSFI) co-sponsored the most recent Defensive Cyberspace Operations & Intelligence (DCOI) conference with Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), at INSS’s conference center.

The objective of the DCOI, which is now an annual, high-level US-Israel cyber conference, is to contribute to an informed public discussion on cybersecurity and to promote international collaboration in the technological, legal, and policy-making domains – and the conference achieved those objectives.

BG Carlos G.L. de Medina, Chief of ESP Joint Cyber Command, Spain

The main “take-aways” from the conference were (1) that Israel has so much to offer the U.S. cyber community, including both the USG and the private sector; and (2) that there are numerous Israeli cyber start-ups that have innovative technical solutions that are ripe for the USG and civilian markets and offer attractive opportunities for potential U.S. teammates and investors.

Paul de Souza, Founder/President of CSFI and Col. (ret.) Robert Morris, CSFI Advisory Director

Four CSFI directors (Hayes, Morris, Jamison, and de Souza) all turned out to participate in and support the DCOI event in Tel Aviv with tremendous success.

CSFI not only sponsored and helped organize the conference (over 400 attendees), but participated as speakers, moderators, and panelists on a variety of subjects, all combining to create a superb event.

The Conference, which was hosted by the Institute for National Security Studies at the University of Tel Aviv, included participants from Europe, Asia, North and South America, and the Middle East, with total of 16 countries being represented at the event.

As an added bonus, attendees available on Monday participated in INSS sponsored tours and briefings from the Israeli Defense Force Cyber Operations Staff and Be’er Sheba Cyber Center of Excellence and Innovation. Special thanks to Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), one of Israel’s leading venture capital funds in supporting DCOI along with many other sponsors.

Adm. (ret) Norman Hayes, VP at SBG Technology Solutions, CSFI Advisory Director

Our  DCOI attendees had the opportunity to tour new cyber centers being developed in Israeli universities. It appears Israeli cyber faculty will expand as new academic cyber research projects are being prepped in Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Ben Gurion University (BGU).

The TAU cyber initiative, with a budget of 10 million shekels ($2.9M), will be headed by Professor Yitzhak Ben Yisrael and will focus on cyber defense by combining exact sciences research, such as computer science and computer engineering, with research in the cyber field through social studies.

BGU will develop the national center for defending cyber space with the cooperation of the National Cyber Bureau. The center will advance a long term theoretical research in the cyber domain with the investment of 30 million shekels ($8.7M), which will be run by Professor Yuval Elovich.

Conference speakers provided thoughts and insights on how cyber professionals could develop and implement strategies, improve communications, work human capital, and improve cyber education systems to mutually support cyber security worldwide.

Major General Uzi Moscovici, Head of the IDF J6/C4i Directorate, IDF

The CSFI/INSS team built a video to initiate discussion for the Strategic Operations Simulation Panel with Norm Hayes, Bob Morris, and Marc Jamison as presenters.

The Cyber Simulations Panel emphasized and demonstrated that cyber security and cyber warfare is a whole of nations approach requiring governments, academia, and industry to work toward common objectives. Cyber is but one lever nations can use to support strategy and policy.

The Israeli speakers included the following:

  • Dr. Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s Minister of Intelligence
  • MG (ret.) Amos Yadlin, former Chief of Military Intelligence and now Director of INSS
  • Dr. Eviatar Matania, Head of Israel’s National Cyber Bureau
  • Dr. Avi Hasson, Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Economy
  • Dr. Erel Marglit, Chair of the Knesset Task Force for Cybersecurity and founder of Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP)
  • Dr. Gabi Siboni, Director of the Cyber Warfare Program at INSS

Other Israeli speakers included thought leaders from prominent cybersecurity providers, such as the following:

  • BG (res.) Yair Cohen, former Head of Unit 8200 and now Head of Intelligence & Cyber Solutions at Elbit Systems, Ltd.
  • Michal Blumenstyk-Braverman, GM of Azure Cybersecurity, a MicroSoft entity
  • Ron Davidson, CISO for CheckPoint

CSFI’s delegation was led by Paul de Souza, Founder/President of CSFI, and included the following members and international speakers:

  • Adm. (ret) Norman Hayes, VP at SBG Technology Solutions, CSFI Advisory Director
  • Col. (ret.) Marc Jamison, President & CEO of Cyber Checkmate Consultants, CSFI Advisory Director
  • Col. (ret.) Robert Morris, CSFI Advisory Director
  • David Miles, Sr. Director of R&D Cyber at Accuvant Labs, and Ira Hoffman, a Member of the CyberMaryland Advisory Board and Principal at Offit Kurman, P.A.
  • Paul Steinberg, Sr. VP, Motorola Solutions
  • Tony Cole, VP & Global Gov’t CTO for FireEye

Other international speakers included the following:

  • BG Carlos G.L. de Medina, Chief of ESP Joint Cyber Command, Spain
  • Monica Lacerda, Risk Manager for the 2014 World Cup Organizing Committee
  • Andrei Avadnei, President, Cyber Security Research Center (CCSIR), Romania
  • Prof. Salih Biçacki, Kadir Has University, Istanbul
  • Albert Gabas of Astabis IRM of Spain
MG (ret.) Amos Yadlin, former Chief of Military Intelligence and now Director of INSS and Dr. Gabi Siboni, Director of the Cyber Warfare Program at INSS

DCOI represents a unique community of Cyberspace Operations and Intelligence professionals with the goal of raising awareness and knowledge of such specialized domains.

As nations become more entangled based on common objectives, the global economy and shared vision of the future, key partners must be developed and cultivated.

Hats off to Gabi Saboni and Paul de Souza and their teams for putting on a benchmark event.


Images courtesy of Chen Galili


About CSFI:  CSFI, founded in 2009, is a nonprofit organization. Its mission is to provide cyberdefense awareness, guidance and security solutions through collaboration, education, volunteer work and advanced training.

CSFI supports the U.S. government and military as well as private commercial interests and their international partners. CSFI is comprised of a large community with more than 30,000 cybersecurity and cyberwarfare professionals from all divisions of the government, military, private sector and academia. Tripwire is proud to be a Gold Sponsor of CSFI.


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