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The tone of resilience followed the 11th Annual Shared Assessments Summit to the Santa Fe, New Mexico home of Catherine A. Allen, Chairman and CEO of The Santa Fe Group. Recovering from an email hack, Cathy hosted sixty guests who enjoyed her signature Missouri ham, dined al fresco in the courtyard as the sun set, and listened to an esteemed panel of subject matter experts speak about Cyberwarfare and National Security: What Americans Need to Know.

Senator Jeff Bingaman, former US State Senator from New Mexico, reinforced the importance of cyber issues and the urgent need for Congress to understand this importance. He introduced the evening’s panelists including:

  • Catherine A. Allen, The Santa Fe Group
  • Mark Fidel, Co-Founder of RiskSense, Inc.
  • Damon Martinez, Former U.S. Attorney and Congressional Candidate
  • Valerie Plame, Former CIA Operative, Author and Cyber Expert

Damon Martinez, former U.S. Attorney and Congressional candidate, covered cyber threats to our democracy, the evolution of protection technologies, protecting voting machines and the undermining of the fundamental basics of our democracy. He spoke about the role of New Mexico National Labs, airspace and missiles and showed Russia’s development of strikingly similar technology to ours, subsequent to us developing it first, in his handout entitled “Emerging Threats: Russian Interference in U.S. Elections and the New Frontier of Cyber Security”.

Mark Fidel, Co-Founder of RiskSense, Inc. focused on vulnerabilities including threat and vulnerability management, election systems vulnerabilities, and the supply chain of digital information that serves the labs in and out of New Mexico. Citing the issues surrounding our election system, Mark described the various vendors involved with the management of the voting process and his commitment to shoring up our systems to protect our democracy and to ensuring a fair, free, and accurate election process.

Valerie Plame, former CIA operative, author, and cyber expert shared her expertise in nuclear proliferation and experience with The New War: Cyberwarfare. Valerie described the relationship between international security and cyberwarfare, our adversaries, and why we should be concerned about Iran, North Korea, China and Russia. Speaking to the gray area between war and peace, she explained the financial benefits of war to a few versus the low profit margin of fighting cyberwarfare.

Catherine A. Allen, Chairman and CEO at The Santa Fe Group and corporate board director, explained the concern of cyberwarfare and critical infrastructures as well as the impact of cyber tactics. Sitting on several boards including that of El Paso Electric Company, Cathy knows the corporate perspective on cyberwarfare. She described the impact of fake news with a visual graphic in hand and reinforced the importance of data integrity. In addition to the media biased chart, The Santa Fe Group provided handouts and multiple relevant materials to guests, including Cathy’s “Cyberwarfare and Critical Infrastructures” and the Ponemon Institute’s “Second Annual Study on The Internet of Things (IoT): A New Era of Third-Party Risk” sponsored by Shared Assessments, a program under The Santa Fe Group umbrella. Handouts quickly moved into guest’s hands as Cathy emphasized that protecting one’s personal and company assets are a must in today’s world of new warfare.

Stating there are not enough people in public policy who are aware of cyber issues and the impact associated, panelists recapped their concerns and suggestions as:

  • Heighten awareness of one’s own biases – go far and wide and beyond
  • Education is key
  • Think
  • Stay strong and informed
  • Voice your concerns about cyberwarfare and the threat to our democracy and safety to your Congressmen
  • Vote

The sun set. And as guests left, they left more aware of cyber threats, than when they arrived, with a tone of resilience.


Sylvie Obledo is a Project Manager with The Santa Fe Group, Shared Assessments Program. As Project Manager, Sylvie facilitates thought leadership and collaboration of leadership teams and a variety of groups including the Continuous Monitoring Working Group and Vertical Strategy Groups in industry sectors including Asset Management, Consumer Product Goods, and Insurance. Her scope of work requires creative problem solving, planning, organization, and managing multiple timelines.

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