San Diego, California - Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, hosted a three-day Cyber Symposium at Naval Base Point Loma, last week.

The symposium was organized to educate surface force leadership on fighting in the cyber warfare arena, discuss shipboard capabilities and limitations, and build skills and good habits among operators.

"We must take the defense of our computer networks as seriously as defending our warships against an incoming cruise missile," said Vice. Adm. Tom Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces. "You are the frontline on cyber defense, and our surface combatant crews are counting on you."

The first day of the event featured presentations for flag officers, senior officers, and senior enlisted personnel to help implement strategic concepts at the operational level.

The second and third days featured presentations for junior officers, chief petty officers, and enlisted Sailors, and a "hackathon" which offered an opportunity for them to sharpen skills, build relationships, and share ideas, said Lt. Peyton Price, one of the event's organizers.

"The fact that the leadership has allowed the Sailors to come and participate really reinforces how important that this domain is for preparing ourselves for the future of combat," he said.

It also gave Sailors the chance to compete for prizes by demonstrating their professional abilities in cybersecurity challenges.

As Navy ships incorporate technological advancements in warfighting systems, the need to defend those systems becomes increasingly important. Events such as the hackathon help create an environment for Navy information technology professionals to share knowledge and reinforce their skill sets.

Over the last year, Naval Surface Forces have made improvements in training, policy, and equipment. Building awareness among all surface force Sailors about the importance of cybersecurity helps make the fleet more resilient to cyber threats. As warfighters, all Navy personnel have a responsibility to implement cyber security.