Marcel Lettre, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, has emphasized the Defense Department‘s support for strong encryption standards and technology as a tool to protect warfighting systems and data, DoD News reported Tuesday.
Cheryl Pellerin writes Lettre and Adm. Mike Rogers, head of the U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing Tuesday that DoD believes commercial encryption tools could help to protect military platforms and maintain economic security.
“The department’s support for the use of strong encryption goes well beyond its obvious military value,” Lettre told the committee, according to the report.
He said DoD relies on commercial partners and contractors to help secure national security systems, research and development data related to weapons, classified information about service members and civilians and personally identifiable information and health records, Pellerin reports.
Lettre added that the department is concerned about terrorist groups that use encryption technology to carry out their goals, the report says.
He said Pentagon has kicked off collaboration with other government agencies and the private sector to address this challenge and protect critical systems from cyber attacks, DoD News reports.
Rogers also told lawmakers the NSA supports the use of encryption to protect “everyone’s data as it travels across the global network,” Pellerin reports.
“We rely on it ourselves and set the standards for others in the U.S. government to use it properly to protect national security systems,” Rogers said, according to the report.