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Lynn at RSA: Military Might Not Enough to Combat Cyber Attacks

Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn at the RSA Conference, Photo: DoD/U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison

Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn, speaking at a cybersecurity conference Tuesday, said military might is not enough to protect the nation’s cyberspace and that the best minds in the private sector and government will have to work together.

“The overwhelming percentage of our nation’s critical [information] infrastructure, including the Internet itself, is in private hands,” Lynn said at the RSA Conference, an IT security forum in San Francisco. And, it will take the “vast technological and human resources to ensure the United States retains its preeminent capabilities in cyberspace, as it does in all the other domains,” he added.

Lynn said the Defense Department needs to increase information sharing, strengthen network architecture and extend network defenses to private sector networks that are vital to national security and the economy, such as defense companies and banks.

And, the private sector has its role to play as well, he added.

For example, telecommunications providers often have the first glimpse into cyber attacks, what Lynn called “unparalleled visibility” into global networks. “They can detect attacks transiting their systems and, in many cases, alert customers,” he explained.

The Pentagon recently announced it would spend $500 million on cyber research, focusing on cloud computing, virtualization and encrypted processing, according to an American Forces Press Service report.

DoD will also work at speeding the adoption of new technologies and will expand the Information Technology Exchange Program, which allows DoD and industry IT experts to “swap jobs.”

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