Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Y. Wong
Chief of Staff at the Army Cyber Institute
Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Y. Wong is a Military Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Army who is currently serving both as the Chief of Staff at the Army Cyber Institute and as an Assistant Professor with the Department of Systems Engineering at West Point. He graduated from the United States Military Academy with a B.S. in economics, and he holds a M.S. in management science and engineering from Stanford University, a M.A. in education from Stanford University, and a Master of Military Science from the Mubarak al-Abdullah Joint Command and Staff College in Kuwait. He had the opportunity to work as a NASA Summer Faculty Fellow and has served in overseas deployments to Iraq, Kuwait, and the Republic of Korea.
As part of his research into defending our country’s critical infrastructure against cyber adversaries, he tackles the tough issue of analyzing if enough innovation is taking place in cyber defense. And if such innovation is indeed happening, he candidly addresses why it seems as though the attackers always seem to be several steps ahead of the defenders. LTC Wong’s research begins with an examination of four distinct types of innovation—breakthrough, disruptive, incremental, and sustaining. Sustaining and incremental innovations tend to generate improvements within existing systems but usually originate as reactive responses to market desires and produce improvements based exclusively on recognizable needs. Conversely, breakthrough and disruptive innovations target new and underserved markets but can proactively shape environments in oftentimes drastic and unforeseen ways. By understanding that clear distinctions exist within “innovation,” LTC Wong asserts that we must first understand the types of innovation our adversaries employ; only then will we grasp why our current system for cyber defense is failing and, more importantly, pursue those innovations that will prevail. Consequently, we are then able to come up with novel solutions that equip us to out-hack the computer hacker.