White House’s Jake Braun addresses statewide cybersecurity summit at Notre Dame

Author: Brett Beasley

On April 18, leaders in cybersecurity from government, industry and academia gathered for the 2024 Indiana Statewide Cybersecurity Summit hosted by the University of Notre Dame in collaboration with co-sponsors Indiana University, Purdue University, and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The invited guests, which included the White House’s Jake Braun, gave voice to an urgent call for cross-sector collaboration to address the current shortage of trained cybersecurity professionals across the state and the nation.

“There are 500,000 open cybersecurity positions around the country and thousands of vacancies in Indiana,” said Braun, the acting principal deputy national cyber director in the White House’s Office of the National Cyber Director. Established by a bipartisan act of Congress in 2021, Braun’s office spearheaded the development of the President’s National Cybersecurity Strategy, which was issued by President Joe Biden on March 2, 2023.

Braun called the effort to fill cybersecurity positions “a national security imperative.” He said that cybersecurity professionals are critical for protecting everything from water systems to the electric grid to airports and national defense systems.

Jeffrey F. Rhoads, vice president for research and professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, said, “I can think of few issues right now that are more impactful on society than the issue of cybersecurity.” Rhoads called the summit, which is now in its third year, “a shining example of how universities, government and industry can come together to solve really complex challenges.”

Jarek Nabrzyski, director of Notre Dame’s Center for Research Computing, served as the program committee chair and the host for the summit. Nabrzyski, who is also a concurrent professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, shared his hope that the meeting will serve as a segway to “establishing more coordinated action here in Indiana,” including a statewide cybersecurity task force.

“Cybersecurity is more critical than ever as we think about a world where AI, drones, unmanned vehicles and robots are the norm. In order to make use of these capabilities, we must also have a coordinated plan for how we will secure our critical infrastructure,” Nabrzyski said.

Luiz A. DaSilva offered a keynote address on his experiences as co-founding executive director of Virginia’s Commonwealth Cyber Initiative. DaSilva explained how the initiative connects the state’s colleges and universities to create a statewide engine for cybersecurity research, workforce development and innovation. DaSilva also offered insights for building a similar statewide initiative in Indiana.

DaSilva explained that by creating a statewide initiative, universities can increase resources from state, local, corporate and federal sources.

“The key message,” DaSilva said, “is that we can work together to ‘grow the pie’ rather than competing against each other for a slightly larger piece of a smaller pie.”

To find out more about the annual Indiana Statewide Cybersecurity Summit, visit indianacybersummit.org.

Contact: Brett Beasley, writer and editorial program manager, Notre Dame Research, bbeasle1@nd.edu, 574-631-8183; research.nd.edu,  @UNDResearch

Originally published by Brett Beasley at research.nd.edu on April 26.