U.S. Cybersecurity Lacking – DoD Says Cultural Shift Needed

U.S. Cybersecurity Lacking – DoD Says Cultural Shift Needed

Chief Information officer for the Department of Defense Terry Halvorsen. Photo courtesy of the Department of Defense.

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WASHINGTON — According to a Department of Defense official, a change in culture is needed in order to protect the United States Military and economy from cyber threats.

Last week officials from the government and private sector met that the 6th Annual Billington Cybersecurity Summit. Speakers at the summit hailed from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense, NSA, the Israel National Cyber Bureau and Northrop Grumman to name a few.

“What keeps me awake is ‘Will we get the cyber culture right?'” said Defense Department’s chief information officer Terry Halvorsen during a daylong cyber security meeting.

Halvorsen continued to state that the United States’ heavy use of cyber in warfare and economics gives us a distinct advantage but makes us “most vulnerable to cyber interdiction.”

A criminal or nation state, according to Halvorsen, can spend a “fairly small sum of money and cause us to spend quite a bit of money,” adding, “right now, we are on the wrong side of that cyber-economic curve.”

Air Force Lt. Gen. James “Kevin” McLaughlin, the deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command, spoke about the efforts by the DoD to mitigate cyber threats. McLaughlin spoke about a cyber initiative started in 2013 that aimed to bring 133 new cyber teams involving 6,200 people over a four-year period.

The initiative is only halfway complete and the department has found itself deploying the new units before they are entirely operational because the “need for them is so dire,” McLaughlin said.

The FBI started a similar cyber initiative in October of 2012 after an Office of the Inspector General report found faults in the Bureau’s investigative practices when it came to cyber security.

The Next Gen Cyber Initiative by the FBI was recently reviewed by the OIG who found the Bureau has been better when pursuing cyber threats but stringent guidelines, competition with the private sector as well as the Snowden leaks has greatly affected their ability to do so.

Little information is known about the exact extent and progress made in the DoD’s similar program.

In 2010 Cyber was made the fifth operational domain in warfare after land, air, sea and space.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Skinner, deputy commander, Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Networks, stated that cyber operators are facing new and evolving challenges every day.

“While we’ve held a decisive and dominant advantage in all the other domains,” Skinner said, “that’s not necessarily the case in the cyber domain.”

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