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Lynn Details Pentagon’s Cyber-Defense Measures

Photo: af.mil
Photo: af.mil

To fight the cyber threat, the Pentagon has built “layered and robust defenses” around military networks, and officials from the departments of Defense and Homeland Security are collaborating to protect the computer systems, Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn wrote in an article published yesterday in Foreign Affairs magazine.

Titled “Defending a New Domain,” the piece outlines the evolution of computer-network threats and measures the department has adopted to deal with them. The frequency and sophistication of intrusions into U.S. military networks have increased exponentially in the past 10 years, Lynn wrote. They now are probed thousands of times and scanned millions of times, every day, he added.

Sometimes, the adversaries are successful, acquiring thousands of files from DoD networks and those of the Pentagon’s industry partners and U.S. allies, including weapons blueprints, operational plans and surveillance data, Lynn said. To counter cyber attacks, the Pentagon has built solid defenses around military networks and created the new U.S. Cyber Command to integrate processes, Lynn said. DoD officials are working with their counterparts at the Department of Homeland Security, which has jurisdiction over the “dot-com” and “dot-gov” domains, to safeguard the networks.

“Information technology enables almost everything the U.S. military does,” Lynn wrote, from logistical support and command and control to real-time intelligence and remote operations. Any future conflict will include cybersecurity, he has said in the past.

In the article, Lynn outlines five pillars of DoD’s emerging cybersecurity policy, starting with how cyber has to be recognized as a warfare domain equal to land, sea and air. The second one entails ensuring that any defensive posture reaches beyond good hygiene to include sophisticated and accurate operations that allow fast response. The third pillar calls for cyber defenses to go beyond the DoD’s dot-mil world into commercial networks, as governed by Homeland Security. The fourth aspect encompasses working with international allies to pursue cyber defenses. Finally, the fifth pillar entails DoD assisting with maintaining and leveraging U.S. technological dominance and improving the acquisitions process to keep up with the speed and agility of the IT industry.

Pentagon officials are working on a cyber-strategy document to be released this fall. Among many other things, it will address any statutory changes needed for cyber defense, and the capability for “automated defenses,” such as the ability block malware at top speed, Lynn has said in the past.

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