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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Panelists to discuss war via the web

Modern-day wars extend beyond physical battlefields. An on-campus panel will discuss this phenomenon and how the Internet increasingly replaces bullets in today’s international conflicts Tuesday.
The panel discussion, entitled “Is America Losing the Cyber Battle?” will be held at 6 p.m. in the George Bush Library Auditorium and is hosted by A&M’s Alexander Hamilton Society. It will include three Texas A&M professors and one speaker from the American Enterprise Institute, whose expertise covers everything from cybersecurity to defense policy. The panel will cover ever-changing technology, the biggest threat to the United States’ cybersecurity and how to mitigate the threat.
Daniel Ragsdale, director of the Texas A&M Cyber Security Center, professor of computer science and engineering and former Colonel in the U.S. Army, is one of the panelists. Ragsdale said he will stress the growing importance of cybersecurity in America.
“We’re losing ground, despite our best efforts for a better part of a generation to make systems more secure,” Ragsdale said. “It’s pretty evident we’re losing ground — we’re having trouble keeping pace with those that would attempt to subvert the security of our systems.”
Ragsdale said cybersecurity is one of the most important national and economic security issues facing the country.
“We need a more concerted and frankly, a more interdisciplinary approach that doesn’t just focus on the technical aspect of this problem, but teases out some of the human dimension issues that could work with technical solutions to make us more secure,” Ragsdale said.
Thomas Abi-Hanna, media liaison for AHS and graduate student studying international affairs said Tuesday’s panel will educate students about the realities of cyber threats to the U.S.
“Cyber warfare is a new thing to be honest, because technology is rapidly evolving everyday,” Abi-Hanna said. “It’s something the international community and governments are still trying to figure out. They’re still trying to establish what the rules are — how to deal with international relations on the basis of cybersecurity.”
Charlotte Karrisson-Willis, president of AHS and graduate student studying national security, said the leaders of the organization picked cybersecurity as the topic for the panel due to it’s increasing importance in modern society.
“Over the summer, there were a lot of cyber headlines in the news, between the hack of the Office of Personnel Management — there’s also DOD [Department of Defense] hacks —and just concerns about where cyber attacks were going,” Karrisson-Willis said. “We also saw the rise of ISIS in the Middle East, so a lot of people were talking about that and it hasn’t gone away since.”
Karrisson-Willis said one of the purposes of the panel is to get speakers with a broad range of expertise to fully explore the topic.
“Our goal as a panel was to bring a lot of different perspectives. So whether we do a debate or we do a panel, which are our two usual big events, our goal is to provide students with a wide array of information or different perspectives,” Karrisson-Willis said. “In this case we were able to bring in people who know national security policy, who know foreign policy and who know the technical side of cybersecurity.”

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