Lt. General Elder gives cyber-defense lecture

From left, Michael Balboni, New York State Homeland Security Chief; Polytechnic Trustee Jeffrey Lynford; Lt. General Robert J. Elder Jr., Commander 8th Air Force; Polytechnic President Jerry M. Hultin; and John E. Sexton, President of New York University.

On Friday, November 30, Lt. General Robert J. Elder Jr., Commander, 8th Air Force and Joint Functional Component Commander for Global Strike and Integration, U.S. Strategic Command, gave the 10th Annual Lynford Lecture: “The Strategic Imperative for Cyber Defense.” (Watch the lecture.)

President Jerry M. Hultin welcomed the audience and set the tone for the lecture by remarking that as we “create new technologies we create new risks.”  New York University President Dr. John E. Sexton then introduced General Elder, telling the audience about General Elder’s reputation for being a “quiet, humble and cerebral man” and noting how in our increasingly networked world, we need our best minds, minds like General Elder’s, working to protect against cyber attacks.

At the beginning of his lecture, General Elder told the audience that he hoped to “lay the foundation for things you should be thinking about—if not for military purposes, then for entrepreneurial.” He did just that, providing examples of how military cyber defense practices, data encryption and packet assurance for example, are akin to practices used in commerce, 80% of which involves the Internet.

General Elder also discussed the opportunities cyberspace and web applications present for improving global relations and on-the-ground military operations, a prime example being handheld translators that can help soldiers communicate in foreign countries.

General Elder’s lecture gave insight into military operations in cyberspace, including intelligence collection, information operations, business processes and war-fighting operations.

Poly Trustee Jeffrey H. Lynford, Philanthropist, Chairman, Reis Inc, and his wife, Tondra Lynford, make possible the Lynford Lecture series, a public forum for leading mathematicians and scientists.  Mr. Lynford gave an overview of the history of the Lynford lecture series and its many speakers of importance. Past speakers include Gerald M. Rubin, genome sequence pioneer and Alan Kay, pioneer of the modern personal computer. Mr. Lynford told the audience that General Elder is just such a “speaker of importance.”

At the lecture, General Elder was honored with an award from Poly’s Institute for Mathematics and Advanced Supercomputing (IMAS) presented by Drs. David and Gregory Chudnovsky, IMAS Co-directors. Mr. and Mrs. Lynford were instrumental in creating IMAS and bringing the Chudnovsky’s to Poly.