The Center for Governance of Technology and Systems (GoTech) at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy recently hosted a delegation of 12 Egyptian government officials to discuss vital topics related to digital transformation and cybersecurity risks. USAID facilitated the engagement while Dr. Manouchehr (Mitch) Mokhtari of the UMD School of Public Health accompanied the delegation during their visit to campus.
The Egyptian delegation was led by the Deputy Minister for Digital Transformation, Automation and Administrative Development in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Khaled Lotfi Hassan Elattar, and included several other individuals from the Ministry and the Egyptian Administrative Control Authority as well as from USAID.
In discussing the importance of the exchange, GoTech Director Dr. Charles Harry noted, “Technology integration by national governments is benefited through robust dialogue between policy makers and experts. This helps us better frame and measure risks technology can impart on society.”
The event commenced with opening remarks by Harry and a round of introductions. For the first presentation, Harry spotlighted GoTech’s mission and research agenda. He emphasized key research products associated with GoTech’s strategic cybersecurity portfolio including the Cyber Events Database, a joint project with the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM); GoTech’s patented cyber-risk modeling platform, Tapestry; and GoTech’s ongoing project that maps attack surfaces (or the number of all possible points, or attack vectors, where an unauthorized user can gain access to a system) to identify vulnerabilities to key public sector functions.
During the presentation, Harry emphasized that GoTech’s goal is to link analysis to policy and to help organizational leaders better understand cyber risks so that they can prioritize scarce resources. The presentation provided valuable insights into the challenges faced by governments and organizations alike, encouraging an understanding of how human systems and technology interact to improve policy interventions.
After a brief break, Harry delved deeper into GoTech’s attack surfaces project, sharing some results from an initial analysis and mapping of the state of Maryland. The project seeks to answer how large an attack surface is by geography, sector, etc., and the level of vulnerability of said attack surface. Harry pointed out that the biggest challenge for policymakers is that a lot of critical infrastructure is privately owned or outside the direct control of the state, which leads to fragmented human processes and an inability to assess risk comprehensively.
GoTech Research Director, William Lucyshyn, concluded the presentations with an overview of acquisition challenges posed by additive manufacturing, exploring the transformative potential of this burgeoning technology, commonly known as 3D printing. Lucyshyn discussed the tremendous benefits of the technology on acquisition and sustainment including reduced development and production costs, improved supply chain efficiency, and the ability to extend the life cycle of legacy systems. He also emphasized that challenges persist, including increased risk of counterfeiting and unauthorized reproduction and slow contracting processes, and must be addressed to maximize the benefits and reduce the risks..
Following the presentations and discussion, the half-day event concluded with a lunch in the Reading Room and terrace of Thurgood Marshall Hall. This provided an excellent opportunity for the Egyptian delegation, GoTech experts, and other attendees to engage in informal discussions and exchange ideas about how to address complex technological issues to ensure a resilient digital future.
Dr. Charles Harry discusses technology governance with the delegation.
William Lucyshyn explains the challenges and opportunities presented by additive manufacturing.
The delegation grabs lunch on the third floor of Thurgood Marshall Hall