CISA Plays Important Role in Northwest Economic Summit


As Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Region 10 Protective Security Chief Allen Chung listened to each speaker share their stories of the challenges of doing business in the region due to threats, he knew exactly how they felt. 

 Region10 Protective Security Chief Allen Chung speaking at the AANHPI Economic Summit

Chung was recently on a panel of federal agency experts where they heard from Asian-American residents and of their fear of attack and the trepidation to ask for help. 

As a second generation Asian-American, Chung has also been on the receiving end of hate and intolerance at times. He understands the Asian culture of being reluctant to ask for help and he empathizes with all ethnicities who struggle with the challenges of daily life simply because of their cultural heritage.

This is what made Chung a perfect presenter for the recent Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Economic Summit in Seattle attended by many different Seattle area ethnic groups. The Summit, part of a White House initiative to help connect these important ethnic groups with critical resources in their communities, featured many federal agency speakers, including Allen, who spoke about cyber and protective security.

Chung shared with attendees how CISA connects stakeholders with tools and resources helping them fortify their cyber, communications, and physical security. The end goal, to build resilience and strengthen neighborhoods and entire communities against outside attackers.

“We want to encourage everyone to reach out to us,” Chung said. “It’s our mission to reduce risk across U.S. critical infrastructure, our states, and our communities.

Chung stressed the importance of being able to present to this group because they often won’t ask for assistance or help due to their cultural upbringing.

“It’s not a community who traditionally reaches out and government doesn’t always understand these groups need a face to connect with and help them understand the resources that are available,” Chung said.

Chung also believes these groups are not likely targets because of their ethnicity, but because they have weak defenses.

“Cyber incidents aren’t typically racially profiled. Instead, they are targets of opportunity and attackers are looking for the weakest link,” Chung added.

AANHPI Heritage Month is May, and it allows us to recognize Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander contributions throughout history. There are more than 23 million people of Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander descent in the United States. They trace their background to a region that covers more than one-third of the earth and includes the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and the Pacific. 

Chung said working with ethnic associations has more impact on these groups because of the “one to many” messaging that can occur. One presentation to a specific group can reach an entire ethnic community, eventually. And while Chung focused his message on this group for the White House event, he is a firm believer that all ethnic groups need to be treated equally when it comes to accessing government resources.

“Every ethnicity is deserving of our help,” Chung said. “Having that mindset is critical to reaching into all sectors of our community and making an impact.”

To learn more about how CISA is working on supporting inclusion and equality visit: Foster Belonging, Diversity, Inclusion, and Equality.