Former officials plan guest appearances in cyberattack simulation

Event designed to show how government would develop response to major attack

A bipartisan group of former senior government officials plans to stage a return to service exercise Feb. 16 as part of a simulation designed to show how the government would respond to and recover from a devastating cyberattack.

The event, known as Cyber ShockWave, was co-created by former CIA Director Michael Hayden and a national security group that is part of the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), the organization that’s hosting the event at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington.

Unlike recent government cyber role-playing exercises, members of the media have been invited to watch as the former officials scramble to keep up with a quickly changing situation.

The participants, who will be working to craft advice for the president and develop a response to the attack, won’t know what’s going to happen in advance. Instead, participants will have to react in real time to intelligence and news reports, the group said.

After the simulation, the organization plans to hold a public discussion with participants and partners to talk about what the government can do to avoid a real-world cyberattack and lessons that were learned during the exercise.

Some notable ex-government officials that will star in the simulation include:

  • Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff as national security adviser.
  • Former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte as secretary of state.
  • Former White House homeland security adviser Fran Townsend as homeland security secretary.
  • Former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart as counselor to the president.
  • Former Deputy Commander of the U.S. European Command Charles Wald as defense secretary.

The simulation was developed in partnership with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, SMobile Systems, Southern Company, Georgetown University and PayPal.

The BPC was started in 2007 by former Senate majority leaders Howard Baker (R-Tenn.), Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Bob Dole (R-Kan.), and George Mitchell (D-Maine). The organization previously conducted Oil ShockWave simulations that dealt with U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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