Already vulnerable, countries in South America, the Caribbean and Central America face increasing vulnerabilities by artificial intelligence-enabled and other emerging technology-based cyber attacks, said Col. James Hamilton, USAF, the A6 for the 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH), speaking on a panel with cyber leaders from Brazil, Ecuador, Jamaica, Paraguay and Peru, during the AFCEA Alamo ACE conference on November 15, 2023, in San Antonio.
AFSOUTH operates in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility and, along with the other service components, is working to combat the predominance of malicious cyber threats in the region. Part of that effort is uniting with partner countries, their militaries and other organizations.
“We have been seeking overall to strengthen U.S. relationships between the Caribbean, Central and South America and our goal is to counter cyber threats within the region and build sound and stable relationships going forward,” said Col. Hamilton, who brought leaders from each of those five countries to San Antonio to meet with military cyber officials and present at the conference.
The cyber threat frontier, which has only increased over time, has especially shifted in the last 18 months, the colonel noted, given the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI), quantum and other emerging technologies that can or will be leveraged by nefarious cyber actors, including the reported state-sponsored activities by the People’s Republic of China.
“It’s been our mission to build partner cyber defense capability and operational interoperability in pursuit of a secure and prosperous Western Hemisphere,” Col. Hamilton said. “The threats are numerous, and they are real.”