Cedric Leighton


Business, Finance, Risk Management, Safety/Security

Full Bio

Cedric Leighton is the Founder & President of Cedric Leighton Associates, a unique strategic risk, Cyber Security and leadership management consultancy. Cedric combines a deep understanding of strategic risk with the Cyber Security expertise he honed during a 26-year career as a US Air Force Intelligence Officer.

During his time in the US Air Force, Cedric witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, oversaw critical Special Operations missions, established key partnerships with nations in South and Southeast Asia and deployed five times to the Middle East. He served at every command echelon from small deployed elements to the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, where he was the Deputy Director for Warfighter Support and Integration in the Intelligence Directorate. His last military assignment was as the National Security Agency’s Deputy Director for Training, where he helped train the nation’s cyber warriors. His numerous military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star (for his work in Operation Iraqi Freedom), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and seven Meritorious Service Medals. He retired as a Colonel in 2010.

Since founding Cedric Leighton Associates, Cedric has become an internationally known strategic risk and Cyber Security expert. He has appeared on Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, Bloomberg TV, CNN, the PBS News Hour, C-SPAN, MSNBC, BBC, CCTV (Chinese Central TV), CTV (Canada), ABC (Australia), RT America, Fox 5 DC, Fox 29 Philadelphia, as well as Washington DC’s News Channel 8, where he is a regular contributor to the “Capital Insider” program. He has written articles on cyber strategy, national security and management topics for AOL Defense, Business Excellence Magazine, MWorld, Leadership Excellence Magazine, theStreet.com, CNBC.com, JenningsWire, and the Huffington Post. On radio, he has appeared on national shows such as the Jim Bohannon Show and the Leslie Marshall show, as well as numerous regional radio talk shows. Internationally, he has been a guest on the Voice of America and was quoted by the French national newspaper Le Figaro. He was a panelist for three Bloomberg Cyber Security, Defense and National Security conferences. Cedric is a member of the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). He is also a National Journal ‘National Security Insider’, one of 89 nationally recognized experts who contribute insights every week to that publication.

Cedric graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University and holds a Master’s Degree in International Studies from Angelo State University. He speaks German, French and Spanish and has traveled extensively in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America.


1. "Achieving Cyber Security in the Energy Industry: The New Critical Imperative"

Topic Description: "From computer viruses, to BOTNETs, to Denial of Service attacks, we continually hear about the dangers facing our computer infrastructure. Although these dangers are very real, many victims don't know they've been attacked until it's too late. In this keynote presentation, Cyber Security expert Cedric Leighton shows how some of the very first Cyber Attacks impacted the Energy Sector and how such attacks have grown more sophisticated over time. He also outlines how, as part of the nation's critical infrastructure, the US Energy Industry will be impacted by both President Obama's Cyber Security Executive Order and Congressional legislation and what the Energy Industry can do to proactively secure itself from Cyber Attacks."

2. "Developing new Paradigms for a 21st Century Cyber Strategy"

Topic Description: The US is trying to fight a 21st Century Cyber War with a 19th Century bureaucracy. It lacks a coherent Cyber Strategy and has failed to reform its governmental institutions to keep pace with technological and social developments in the Cyber Age. In this presentation, Cyber Security expert Cedric Leighton makes the case for a truly responsive government, in which Cyber Security standards evolve in response to morphing Cyber Threats. He argues for an unprecedented public - private partnership, involving the Intelligence Community, Law Enforcement, Private Industry and Academia that partners in real-time to stem the growing threats posed by Cyber Terrorism, Cyber Crime and Cyber Espionage.

3. "Intelligence, Big Data and You: How Edward Snowden Just Made the World a Little More Complicated"

Topic Description: In this presentation, Cyber Security expert, Intelligence veteran and media commentator Cedric Leighton describes how big data has revolutionized intelligence gathering for both the public and private sectors. He traces the evolution of data exploitation by Intelligence and Law Enforcement agencies and compares that with what Google and Facebook do with data. He then analyzes the Snowden case and the public debate about privacy vs. security. Providing unique insight gained from his years as an Intelligence Officer, Leighton makes the case that data mining and exploitation are necessary intelligence and business functions in the Cyber Age, but they will require stringent Congressional and Judicial oversight.

4. "Leadership in the Cyber Age"

Topic Description: In this presentation, Cyber Security and Leadership expert Cedric Leighton examines the qualities of leadership required in the Cyber Age, arguing that today's pervasive connectivity presents leaders with new challenges as they guide their organizations into unchartered territory. Because many of today's corporate and government leaders are products of an organizational culture that is no longer relevant, they have a hard time charting new strategies and cultivating the right kind of talent. Not only must organizations continually adapt to change, but HR structures and personnel systems need to do a better job of rewarding performance and spotting talent. Recognizing true talent is a skill leaders must cultivate and it cannot be done solely in the virtual world.

5. "American Strategy in the Cyber Age"

Topic Description: The US has entered a new era without a coherent national strategy, at a time when it really needs one. The much trumpeted "Pivot to Asia" risks being overcome by events in the Middle East, as the worsening Syrian Civil War threatens to spill into neighboring countries. The potential for a humanitarian catastrophe is very real, yet instead of leading, the US is abrogating its Great Power responsibilities without thinking of the consequences. Similarly, the US has already lost incalculable amounts of Intellectual Property to Cyber Espionage and risks exposing itself to great damage from a Cyber Attack, yet it has been slow to re-invent itself to meet the challenges of the Cyber Age. In this presentation, Intelligence veteran, Cyber Security expert and National Security commentator Cedric Leighton points the way to the outlines of a new strategy that will not only safeguard America's interests, but set up the mechanisms for a reasonably secure world.

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