As part of the Coast Guard transition to embrace cyberspace as an operational domain and achieve the vision of the commandant’s Coast Guard Cyber Strategy, the Deputy Commandant for Mission Support and Deputy Commandant for Operations directed the creation of the Office of Cyberspace Forces (CG-791) within Coast Guard Headquarters to address capabilities the service will need for now and in the future.
We recently sat down with Lt. Cmdr. Boris Montatsky to discuss his role as Chief of the Cyberspace Operations Policy Division for CG-791 and learn more about what they will be doing to protect the service from cyber threats.
How long have you been part of the Coast Guard, and what made you want to join?
While in college I was a Coast Guard auxiliarist volunteering as a Russian linguist in D17 and other events. The Coast Guard really interested me in that it’s a life-saving service and a military branch. The uniqueness of the service really resonated with me. I had graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2002 and a few months later I joined the Coast Guard.
What made you want to pursue a career in cyber?
I started my career in the boat forces community at Sector Lake Michigan. I was fortunate to be selected to attend an Advanced Education program in Information Technology Management at DePaul University and received orders to the Telecommunications Information Systems Command (TISCOM) as a cybersecurity Certification and Accreditation (C&A) team lead. My time at TISCOM really broadened my horizon in cybersecurity, and I’ve loved it ever since. Cyberspace operations interests me because it’s a perfect blend of technology and operations. Being a plank owner in the Office of Cyberspace Forces (CG-791) is an opportunity of a lifetime as we embark on the path of operationalizing the cyberspace domain in the Coast Guard.
What is your role in the Office of Cyberspace Forces, and what are some of the things you’re doing to fulfill the commandant’s cyber strategy?
I’m the Chief of the Cyberspace Operational Policy Division. In this capacity, my division develops cyberspace operational policy to operate, maintain, defend and secure the Coast Guard’s systems and networks. CG-791 was created as a result of the Cyber-CIO-C4IT Task Force blueprint approved by the vice commandant in November 2016. The office is charged to organize, man, train, and equip the cyberspace workforce for operations in the cyberspace domain. In addition to cyberspace operational policy, CG-791 will develop policies to enable operations using cyberspace and protect the Maritime Transportation System (MTS) from cyber threats. For instance, the Office of Cyberspace Forces is overseeing the development of the CG Cyber’s Cyber Protection Team (CPT) and the Cybersecurity Service Provider (CSSP). For more information, you can visit this link.
How does a career in the cyberspace workforce impact the service as a whole?
The cyberspace workforce is as wide and diverse as the Coast Guard. Because cyber domain spans across all other domains (air, sea, land, space) we need experts and experienced personnel to employ cyberspace capabilities across Coast Guard missions. Like the U.S. Marine Corps’ motto of “every Marine is a rifleman” so is “every Coast Guardsman is a cyber defender.” Additionally, the Coast Guard heavily relies on its information technology, systems, and data to accomplish every boarding, search and rescue case, inspection, and everyday business functions. The expertise that our cyberspace workforce brings to design, build, operate, maintain, and defend these very critical systems is crucial to the Coast Guard’s success today and in the future.