Creswell native battles cyber threats

By Lt. Charity Edgar

Special to The Chronicle

A Creswell native is busy protecting America from cyber threats as a member of Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group, known as NCWDG.

U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Steven Haga is a cyber warfare engineer.

“I am basically a software developer for the Navy,” explained Haga, a 2010 graduate of Marist Catholic High School and 2014 graduate of George Fox University.

Information technology advances at a staggering pace. Practically all major systems on ships, aircraft, submarines and unmanned vehicles are networked to some degree. This includes most combat, communications, engineering and navigation systems. While connectivity provides the military with speed, agility and precision, it also opens numerous attack opportunities for adept cyber adversaries.

Haga plays a crucial role in defending against cyber threats in support of the command’s mission to conduct cutting edge technical research and development to create, test and deliver advanced cyber, cryptologic and electronic warfare capabilities to the U.S. Navy using rapid prototyping and acquisition authority.

According to Navy officials, networks are under continuous threats of attack by a broad array of state actors, terrorist organizations, “hacktivist” groups, organized crime and individual hackers. Motivations include personal gain, information theft, discrediting the United States, sabotage, political gain, and denial or degradation of the Navy’s access to cyberspace.

“The cyberspace domain is a dynamic environment where new threats and complex problems emerge on an increasingly frequent basis,” said Capt. Brian Luke, commander, NCWDG. “It is only through the technical expertise and professional dedication of our sailors, civilians and other partners that NCWDG is able to meet these challenges. Their unique qualifications and specialized skills serve to satisfy fleet and combatant commander needs, and enable warfighting decisions.”

As the information age presents the world with new technological challenges, the Navy relies on its own cyber experts to shape our presence in cyberspace. NCWDG military and civilian personnel work closely with tactical commanders to develop cyberspace operational capabilities for strategic objectives.

“My brother is a helicopter pilot in the Navy, and he enjoyed it, so I went online to look at other careers the Navy offered,” said Haga. “I didn’t want to stray too far from my degree in electrical engineering, and cyber warfare engineer seemed like a good fit.”

Haga also said he is proud to serve at the forefront of technology innovation and cyber operations, helping to protect America from threats around the world.

The future of U.S. maritime power depends on the Navy’s ability to achieve their vision for cyberspace operations which is based on careful consideration of the threats, trends and challenges facing the Navy in cyberspace.