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NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Remains at Risk of Cyber Attacks

The problems with cybersecurity controls that contributed to previous data breaches at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California remain unresolved, which may put the research center at risk of cyber attacks, according to a new report by the agency’s inspector general. “Over the past 10 years, JPL has experienced several notable cybersecurity incidents that have compromised major segments of its IT network,” the IG said in the report issued Tuesday

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DOJ Using New Authority, Framework to Build Cyber Workforce

The Justice Department is implementing its direct-hire authority as well as a National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education-based approach to establish its cyber workforce and codify related roles, Federal News Network reported Monday. Greg Hall, chief information security officer and assistant director for information system security at the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, said at a DOJ event that the Investment Review Board authorized the hiring of personnel in information system security, governance policy and compliance manager roles.

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Air Force Needs Software Experts to Support Field Ops

A senior official from the Air Force said software engineers would play a key role to protect military systems and networks amid the growing great power competition between the U.S., Russia and China, National Defense Magazine reported Thursday. Air Force Lt. Gen. B.J. Shwedo, chief information officer and director for command, control, communications and computers/cyber for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the remarks following Bold Quest exercise in Finland. 

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DHS Works to Fix Cybersecurity Issues

The Department of Homeland Security made progress addressing the problems with its patch management and security efforts. The DHS inspector general issued its semi-annual report describing how the agency worked on its internal cybersecurity deficiencies. DHS closed one previous OIG recommendation and resolved two others to better secure information, according to the watchdog report submitted Wednesday to Congress.  

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Pentagon Announces Plan for NSA, CYBERCOM Shared Operations

The Department of Defense said the department hasn't assessed the proposed separation of the U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, which shares leadership, infrastructure and talent, Fifth Domain reported Wednesday. “No decision has been made on whether to terminate the dual-hat leadership arrangement,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith. “The department will address whether to terminate this dual-hat leadership arrangement at a later date.”

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Cyberspace Solarium Commission Working on Organizational Structure, Allocations

The Cyberspace Solarium Commission is working to establish an organizational structure and determine resource allocations to support the newly created unit’s three main cyber defense strategies, FCW reported Monday. The 14-member interagency commission was established under the fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act and seeks to create working teams to handle offensive strategy, deterrence-focused defensive strategy and international threat regulation efforts.

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IRS Needs Boost in Cybersecurity to Protect Taxpayer Data

The Government Accountability Office called on Congress to expand the authority of the Internal Revenue Service to monitor and coordinate third-party providers to secure sensitive financial and taxpayer information more effectively against cyber threats. Nearly 90 percent of people file their taxes every year using commercial software or a paid tax return preparer. GAO issued a new report on Thursday highlighting that IRS is failing to properly monitor its service providers to protect financial information.

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Marine Corps Takes Lead to Combat Global Cyber Terrorism

The U.S. Marine Corps received a new task to lead a global mission to deter operations of terrorist groups in the cyberspace, Fifth Domain reported Thursday. Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command leads the Joint Task Force-Ares mission, which launches cyber counter-offensive operations against the Islamic State group.

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Federal IT Heads See Retention a Key Priority for Cyber Workforce

Despite providing training and implementing new approaches to prepare federal employees to take on cybersecurity roles, the government continues to face challenges building and retaining its cyber workforce, FCW reported Thursday. Information technology officials from different agencies raised concerns with the effectiveness of the new cyber workforce executive order. "What I'm not sure how much will get addressed with the executive order is, what about retention?" Shane Barney, chief information security officer of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said at a recent Government CIO conference. 

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