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Despite Hackers, DOD Retains Faith in Weapon Systems

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2013 – The United States military has “complete faith that our systems are secure and reliable,” a Pentagon spokesman said here today.

The military is always concerned about cybersecurity and the chances of losing information to other nations, Army Col. Steve Warren said, but the department has invested a lot of money, time and expertise in combating this threat.

In a meeting with reporters, Warren discussed alleged hacking that targeted U.S. military weapons systems, but he did not address what programs -- if any -- were exposed to cyber intrusions. “But we have absolute confidence in our systems,” he added. “Suggestions that any of these intrusions have led to an erosion of our capabilities is incorrect.”

Further, the spokesman said, there is no fear in the department that intrusions like this are eroding the U.S. military lead over other nations. “Suggestions that our technological edge has eroded are incorrect,” he said.

Warren said the department has a program that companies can join to help deter and mitigate these attacks. The Defense Industrial Base Enhanced Cybersecurity Information-sharing Program helps companies and the Pentagon defend American secrets, said Air Force Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, a DOD spokesman specializing in cyber issues. The program has yielded successes in information sharing and in network defense, he said.

“Any company in the defense industrial base can sign a classified framework agreement and voluntarily join this sharing program,” Pickart said. “If the company experiences an intrusion or a cyberattack on their systems, they can voluntarily bring that to our attention.”

The company shares the signature of the intrusion and details associated with the attack. “We do our forensic analysis of that through the Defense Cybercrime Center,” Pickart said. “Once we looked at what that is, we are able to develop measures that we can then share back to all the companies, and that can help mitigate against future attacks or intrusions from whoever was launching them.”

The program started with DOD as a pilot program a few years ago. Today, 85 companies -- about half of the defense industrial base -- participate in the program. The department and the companies share both classified and unclassified information.

The Homeland Security Department has a similar program that took the lessons learned from the DOD effort and applied it throughout industry, Pickart said. 

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