Turner says Wright-Patt, NASIC play part in supporting Ukraine

Cyber security is a ‘community issue,’ congressman says

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and one of its most important missions, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), will have roles to play in upholding U.S. interests in the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner said Monday.

Turner, a Dayton Republican and the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, declined to say if NASIC is playing a part in sharing actionable intelligence with Ukrainian forces in their fight against invading Russian forces. But he did say Wright-Patterson remains integral to Air Force operations.

“It certainly has a significant contribution to our intelligence community,” the congressman said. “We’re working diligently to get intelligence into the hands of the Ukrainians so they can defend against the Russians, and certainly Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has a role in that.”

Turner, also a member of the House Committee on Armed Services and the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, spoke during the Ohio Cyber Dialogue with Industry event at Sinclair Community College on Monday, an exploration of what businesses and organizations can do to protect themselves and customers in an era of cyber attacks.

While the event was closed to the press, it drew more than 130 attendees, including agents from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

When a company’s cyber presence is attacked, it should be viewed as a crime and reported to the FBI, Turner said, adding that his office can help companies do that.

“This is a community issue, and we need to approach this as a community,” he said.

While there have been no reports of widespread Russian malware or ransomware attacks against the United States or Europe in recent days, Turner cautioned against complacency. Cyberattacks can be hard to accurately attribute, and Turner said some organizations may hesitate before reporting suspected attacks.

“I think everybody has been amazed that Russia’s offensive cyber tools have not appeared to have been used, even in Ukraine,” he said. “I think that should make everyone just a little bit more concerned and diligent to understand that there is a great risk, both from China and from Russia.”

Both countries use cyber-tools to attack American businesses and infrastructure, he said, adding, “We need to make certain we’re protected.”

A cyberattack against a NATO member state could trigger Article 5, its collective defense clause, a NATO official warned on Feb. 28.

Jeff Hoagland, president and chief executive of the Dayton Development Coalition, which organized Monday’s event, said no company of any size can be complacent.

“People should be aware, with everything that’s going on in their lives, from a small business of two or three, up to a company of 2,000, it’s very, very critical that they understand the risks,” he said.

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