WASHINGTON – On September 27-28, 2023, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas hosted representatives from 21 nations at a Department of Homeland Security Western Hemisphere Cyber Conference, held in person at the Organization of American States (OAS). The conference convened senior officials from throughout the hemisphere to discuss the most significant cybersecurity challenges that they face. These leaders addressed how, by working in close partnership with one another, they can better address challenges today and in the future. Specific discussions included approaches to critical infrastructure cybersecurity; aviation, rail, and maritime cybersecurity; and experiences responding to and preventing cyber-enabled crimes and ransomware.
As a direct result of the conference, DHS and partners have agreed to discuss several bilateral and multilateral initiatives and future cyber activities, including: cybersecurity trainings and vulnerability scanning; workshops on topics such as cyber hygiene threat mitigation, and public-private partnerships; aviation and maritime port cybersecurity assessments; cybercrime and cyber law enforcement trainings; and the exploration of additional mechanisms for enhanced information sharing and collaboration.
In addition to Secretary Mayorkas, participation included other DHS leadership such as Acting Deputy Secretary Kristie Canegallo, Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans Robert Silvers, CISA Director Jen Easterly, TSA Administrator David Pekoske, USCG Commandant Admiral Linda Fagan, and other U.S. leadership such as Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger, Acting National Cyber Director Kemba Walden, and senior representatives from the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State.
The Western Hemisphere Cyber Conference served as a key touchpoint for cross-border cyber collaboration, and reaffirms commitments to address complex cybersecurity challenges together. The participants assert the value of building on past cooperation and commit to continuing to work and stand together to safeguard our shared values.