The Forefront23 workshop on May 3 convened researchers, scientists, and engineers who are just that: at the forefront of cybersecurity and nuclear nonproliferation. Sponsored by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (DNN), the all-day workshop for federal staff focused on cybersecurity risks related to emerging technology in the nuclear industry.
“Forefront gives us an opportunity to hear fresh perspectives on the state of the nuclear domain and how cyber risk is more prevalent than ever before. This year we brought more attention and awareness to cybersecurity in emerging nonproliferation technology and policy,” said Shayne VanDyke, a cybersecurity program manager at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The workshop was part of the larger DNN Cybersecurity Support Team program led by VanDyke in PNNL’s National Security Directorate.
Now in its third year, Forefront seeks to convene NNSA, national laboratories, and other stakeholders in a structured discussion of emerging technologies and threats, particularly within the nuclear nonproliferation domain, and those technologies expected to mature or have wide application in the next 3–7 years. The previous events focused on unmanned autonomous systems, advanced reactor technology, the Industrial Internet of Things, 5G and advanced wireless communication technology, and digital twins.
This year, PNNL collaborated with Idaho National Laboratory and NNSA to coordinate the event tracks focused on cyber and nuclear security:
- Cyber-Informed Engineering Strategy – Facilitating guidance for energy sector efforts to incorporate cybersecurity practices into the engineered systems for current and emerging technology to reduce cyber risk.
- Digital Supply Chain Security – Technology solutions that manage and protect digital assets, systems, data, and information related to protecting the supply chain, from the point of origin to the end user, against cyber threats and malicious actors.
As Deputy Program Manager for the DNN Cybersecurity Support Team, PNNL Research Analyst Rob Holliday led event development, including overall event facilitation, track development oversight, and outreach to potential participants. Additionally, PNNL Cybersecurity Analyst Nina Lopez led the Digital Supply Chain Security track, which also featured PNNL Cybersecurity Researchers Jess Smith and Animesh Pattanayak as subject matter experts weighing in with PNNL’s wide-ranging cybersecurity capabilities and experience.
“Too often we think of cybersecurity as an IT problem, but in today’s digital landscape, it’s something we have to consider in all technology environments. This event gave us a space to discuss how cybersecurity risk manifests in areas outside the traditional IT context,” said Holliday.