Assistant Secretary of Defense Dalton Launches Cybersecurity and Climate Change Courses
CCIDS 2023 / CYBER 2023 course launch
Credit: WJPC Stratcom
14 Jul 2023

On July 10, the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies launched the resident phase of two courses: “Climate Change and Implications for Defense and Security” and “Cybersecurity Policy in the Americas: Challenges for Policy-Strategic Analysis.” In opening remarks to 89 participants representing 20 nations, Perry Center Director Dr. Paul Angelo noted the courses address “two of the greatest challenges we confront as security and defense professionals in the Americas in the 21st Century” and that “the urgency of devising shared solutions to these seemingly intractable problem sets could not be greater.”

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Security and Hemispheric Defense Melissa Dalton welcomed the group on behalf of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III. Assistant Secretary Dalton lauded the implementation of the climate change course, saying it “represents an important step forward for the Department in confronting climate change” and “sets an example of how we should be meeting the moment.”

In summarizing the forthcoming unclassified version of the 2023 US Department of Defense Cyber Strategy, Assistant Secretary Dalton emphasized that the Department is devoting unprecedented attention to cyber policy development and implementation. Moreover, the 2023 DOD Cyber Strategy seeks to expand the number of partners with which the US cooperates on cyber efforts and “to be more deliberate about integrating cyber into all aspects of security cooperation programming.” “Cooperation is more important than ever,” she said.

The 2023 cyber course was redesigned by course director Dr. Boris Saavedra to address the accelerating evolution of digital technology, its increasing disruptive capabilities, and the growing complexity of policy and strategy development. It addresses challenges at various levels of government and emphasizes the importance of public-private partnerships, integration, and interoperability. It also seeks to deepen participants’ understanding of cyberspace governance from a perspective of nation-state power and competitiveness. Course facilitators include Perry Center Professor Celina Realuyo, Dr. Vicente Torrijos of Colombia, and Mr. Gianncarlo Gomez of Peru.

The climate change course – offered a second time this year due to high interest from governments in Latin America and the Caribbean – examines the destabilizing impact climate change will have on communities in the Americas. Presentations focus on five themes: science, threats, solutions, role of the security forces, and human impact. Classroom instruction is complemented by site visits to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Naval Academy, and green self-powered buildings in the area. Dr. Patrick Paterson is the course director, assisted by Dr. Erin McFee, Dr. Daniel Ruiz-Carrascal of Colombia, and Professor Mariana Plum of Brazil.

Participants of both courses – of which 34% are women – will engage with dozens of experts during two intensive weeks of instruction, discussion, and collaboration at the Perry Center.