GEN Keith B. Alexander - Commander, U.S. Cyber Command/Director, NSA/Chief, CSS - received the prestigious Abraham Lincoln Award at the annual Flag Day-Army Birthday celebration by the Union League of Philadelphia.
Such leagues were founded during the Civil War to support President Lincoln and the preservation of the Union; Philadelphia's was the first. GEN Alexander thanked organizers for the honor, which recognizes his distinguished public service, and emphasized how some of the greatest threats now facing the United States can be launched from a computer keyboard.
Gen Alexander recieving the Abraham Lincoln Award
Cybersecurity threats are both real and constant, he said at Tuesday's event - adding that information technology breakthroughs have given our adversaries cheaper and often effective cyber weapons to harm U.S. computer networks and systems. "Our nation is at risk."
The response must be coordinated, he said. To that end, the federal government partners with private industry and international allies to strengthen cybersecurity.
The challenge is formidable, but the nation is certainly up to it. American ingenuity sparked companies like Google and the creation of the Internet, GEN Alexander noted. "We ought to be the ones to secure (cyber space) for the good of our country, and I think that we can."
Before an audience of nearly 400 guests, Joan Carter, the league's president, praised the Director for his patriotism and professional achievements. The June 14 ceremony was marked by spirited tributes to active duty, retired, and deceased military personnel - and to their families. At one point, a uniformed Army first sergeant - reciting a poem about "Old Glory" while carrying a folded American flag - slowly marched from the podium and through the audience to present the flag to GEN Alexander. The league said the flag presentation was done to recognize the critical work performed by the National Security Agency/Central Security Service.
Previous military recipients of the Abraham Lincoln Award include GEN David H. Petraeus, International Security Assistance Force Commander, and GEN Peter W. Chiarelli, Vice Chief of Staff for the Army.
More information about NSA is available online at NSA.gov.