Anne Witkowsky, Deputy Coordinator
Washington, DC
August 31, 2012

As Prepared

Good Morning. Mr. Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin, Distinguished Ambassadors, Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE) Executive Secretary Neil Klopfenstein, and other honored guests, thank you for being here today. It’s a great pleasure to say a few words on behalf of the United States as we see some of the important work that CICTE is doing first hand in the realm of cybersecurity.

President Obama has said that the “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation” and affirmed that “America’s economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cyber-security.”

Cybersecurity is a key area of interest for the U.S. government. Attacks on information and communications infrastructure could potentially cause major damage to key sectors of the U.S. and global economy, such as energy, banking and finance, and public health and safety.

Therefore, cybersecurity is not just an issue for certain countries in the region. Cybercrime is a transnational threat, along with terrorism and terrorists’ use of the Internet, and is an increasing concern in the Western Hemisphere, as the Hemisphere has one of the fastest growth rates of Internet usage in the world.

Within the Western Hemisphere, CICTE has played and will continue to play a critical role in the coordination of cybersecurity initiatives, including capacity building, and in facilitating regional cooperation.

The CICTE Cyber Security program has become a key forum in the Americas for debate and the exchange of ideas about current and future cybersecurity trends. The United States has supported and will continue to support this program. It has provided a solid foundation for collaboration among countries on these issues, creating a valuable way for Member States to interact on this subject.

We are particularly pleased to have contributed towards this specific project: an innovative and specialized cyber mobile laboratory to be used for the implementation of a series of sub-regional cyber security “Crisis Management Exercises” across the Hemisphere. We hope this cyber mobile lab will provide the OAS with new flexibility in conducting consistent, cutting-edge training and exercises in countries across the Hemisphere, regardless of existing cyber capabilities. We believe that it can play an important role in improving the entire region's preparedness against cyber attacks. It is through ongoing regional programs such as these that we will continually strengthen our joint efforts in the realm of cybersecurity.

We thank the OAS/CICTE Secretariat for their good will in this area. Again, thank you very much for coming today, and I hope this demonstration provides you a small window into the great work CICTE is doing in this critical and constantly-evolving area.