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Collaboration between Italy and the United States at the heart of the conference on cyber security organized by the Italian Embassy in Washington (March 7, 2019)

Washington, March 7, 2019 – Co-operation and capacity building at international and national level, private public partnerships, confidence building measures, education and training to build a culture of security, strengthening relations between universities, research centers and businesses; these are the fields of action needed to strengthen cyber security in Italy and the United States. This is what emerged during the conference on the topic of cyber security organized by the Italian Embassy in Washington on the occasion of the second visit to the United States of Hon. Angelo Tofalo Undersecretary of Defense. Undersecretary Tofalo spoke during the opening session with Ambassador Armando Varricchio. The conference – as underlined by the Ambassador – has allowed to illustrate to a US audience the many steps forward taken by Italy in strengthening the cyber security ecosystem, through the implementation of the National Strategy approved in 2017, of the EU NIS Directive and the recent establishment of the National Verification and Certification Center (CVCN).

Italy has shown its ability to team up by presenting the national cyber ecosystem with “a whole of Government approach in a context of strategic importance for our country” underlined Hon. Tofalo. This is a testament to the high level of coordination between the Public Administration actors, companies and research centers all gathered in Washington for the occasion.

The conference, articulated in four panels, attended by both Italian and American speakers, has allowed to listen to different points of view on the topic: from institutions to policy, from the military sphere to the defense industry, from research to companies and trade associations. An approach aimed at involving all the actors which – as the Ambassador recalled – “represents a cardinal point of both the Italian and American national cyber strategy “.

The institutional aspects of cyber security were addressed by Professor Baldoni, Deputy Director of the Department for Information Security, by Ambassador Francesco Maria Talò, Coordinator for cyber issues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, by Carmine America, Counselor of the Minister of Economic Development, by Thomas McDermott Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber policy at DHS and Robert Stayer, his counterpart at the State Department. They all stressed how international collaboration in the cyber domain, especially between two friends and allies like Italy and the USA, is essential to protect our democracies. The issue of cyber security was dealt from a military and defense industry perspective thanks to the contribution of General Francesco Vestito, Commander of the CIOC (Italian Joint Command for Cybernetic Operations) and representatives of Leonardo and Northrop Grumman.

Representatives of ENEL, Engineering Ingegneria Elettronica, Intesa Sanpaolo, Telsy, Almaviva, Confindustria, US Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute, an organization representing over 600 companies operating in the oil & gas sector, and Edison Electrical Institute, representing over 2000 utilities, tackled the cyber subject from the point of view of the private sector. Everyone recalled the importance of supply chain security (even “big players” are at risk if the small and medium-sized companies have weaknesses) of standards and certifications, but also of a culture of security.