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NEWS | Dec. 15, 2022

CYBER 101: US Coast Guard Cyber Command (CGCYBER)

By U.S. Cyber Command Public Affairs

The United States is a maritime nation. Each year, $5.4 trillion worth of goods – approximately equal to a quarter of U.S. annual GDP – passes through the nation’s Marine Transportation System (MTS). These goods support millions of American jobs and form the lifeblood of the global economy, with 90 percent of U.S. imports and exports arriving by ship.

For more than 230 years, the United States Coast Guard has protected the nation’s maritime infrastructure, with all its ports, bridges, undersea cables, shipyards, and over 25,000 miles of coastline and inland waterways from adversarial nations and groups.

This mission is no easy task. Global maritime commerce is a complex system of logistics that is increasingly reliant on digital networks to manage schedules, cargo manifests, navigation, and operations. This makes ships, ports, and other MTS prime targets for adversary nations and malicious cyber actors seeking to disrupt commerce and undermine U.S. national and economic security.

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. – United States Coast Guard Cyber Command (CGCYBER) is the U.S. Coast Guard’s response to the growing threat of malware and ransomware to U.S. maritime infrastructure. CGCYBER brings its expertise and unique law enforcement authorities to serve as a valued interagency partner at U.S. Cyber Command and the Department of Defense. Together, CGCYBER gives U.S. Cyber Command the capabilities to respond to foreign and domestic threats.

CGCYBER’s mission is guided by three lines of effort: Defend and Operate the Enterprise Mission Platform; Protect the Marine Transportation System; Operate in and Through Cyberspace.

Defend and Operate the Enterprise Mission Platform

The U.S. Coast Guard Enterprise Mission Platform (EMP) is CGCYBER’s portion of the Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN) and serves as the means by which CYGCYBER deploys its cyber capabilities. In the same way the Coast Guard defends and uses its physical ships and Coast Guardsmen to carry out missions, CGCYBER maintains the EMP and ensures its operational, ready, and secure at all times.

Protect the Marine Transportation System

The United States’ ports and rivers are critical to the nation’s prosperity. CGCYBER is responsible for protecting the nation’s ports and shipping infrastructure from cyber espionage or attacks. To do so, CGCYBER works proactively with agency and industry partners to identify and protect against threats to critical infrastructure.

Operate in and Through Cyberspace

The U.S. Coast Guard protects the national shores and ports with its combined fleet of ships, aircraft, boats, and unmanned systems. These assets are increasingly interconnected and capable of utilizing cyberspace to give Coast Guard units the ability to operate more efficiently, communicate with partners, and respond to threats with greater speed.

CGCYBER is not only responsible for protecting this network, but also conducting operations in and through cyberspace to counter the ability of adversarial nations and transnational criminal organizations to damage U.S. maritime infrastructure and activity. Like other components at U.S. Cyber Command, CGCYBER is more than capable of defensive and offensive cyberspace operations.