A scene from the Space Symposium’s 2014 Cyber event. The one-day conference has since been restricted to U.S. citizens with Top Secret clearance. ( Credit: Space Foundation)

When the nonprofit Space Foundation began devoting the first day of its annual Space Symposium to cybersecurity in 2010, the forum was unclassified. In recent years, however, the event has been restricted to U.S. citizens with Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information or code-word clearance.

The change allows participants to move beyond venting about generic cyber threats and “get down to the nitty gritty to talk about solutions,” said Brendan Curry, Space Foundation vice president for Washington operations.

On April 16, the Space Foundation plans to hold Cyber 1.8, a one-day event at the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton’s Colorado Springs facility. In addition to drawing Air Force and national security space experts, the Space Foundation has invited cybersecurity specialists from other U.S. government agencies, including the State Department, NASA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Department of Justice to discuss common challenges they face and look for common solutions.

“It’s a chance to get everyone together to address this because it is not going away,” Curry told SpaceNews.

Since the event is classified, government executives can reveal specific cyber challenges their agencies face and ask companies for help addressing them, Curry said. Industry executives also have a chance to respond by saying, “We are trying to address the challenges but could do it more effectively if we knew more about A, B and C,’” Curry added.

The Space Foundation’s Cyber conference usually attracts about 150 people, including many representatives of aerospace and defense contractors and Air Force Space Command.

Kristina Harrington, director of the National Reconnaissance Office Signals Intelligence Systems Acquisition Directorate, is scheduled to address participants.

The Space Foundation called its 2010 conference Cyber 1.0 and has been increasing the number each year, making its eighth event Cyber 1.8.

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 12, 2018 issue of SpaceNews magazine.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...