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DOD, DHS Collaborating on Innovative Cybersecurity Solutions

Dec. 17, 2020 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Last month, the Defense Department, Defense Innovation Unit and the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on a range of cybersecurity initiatives.

"CISA and DIU have complementary missions and capabilities that both reinforce the Department of Homeland Security and DOD and are additive to one another," said Jeff Kleck, director of Cyber, DIU. "Together we collectively reach across a broad swath of national interests related to cybersecurity."

Service member monitors cyber threat.
Cyber Threat
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Smith, a mission defense team specialist with the 914th Communications Squadron, monitors cyber threats at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y., Feb. 8, 2020.
Photo By: Peter Borys
VIRIN: 200208-F-YZ899-0008

Notifying the public and private sectors that CISA and DIU are working closely together creates efficiencies that will accelerate advancements in cybersecurity, he explained.

The DIU is the only DOD organization exclusively focused on accelerating commercial technology for national security, he noted. 

The DIU has offices in Silicon Valley, California; Boston; Austin, Texas; and Washington, D.C., where innovative technology companies are located, he said. DIU has lowered the barriers of entry for commercial companies, including startups in those and other locations around the nation. DIU has done this in part with leveraging their Commercial Solutions Opening, a streamlined Other Transaction award, and then scaling successful solutions across the DOD through a production OT.

Service member monitors communications circuits.
Circuit Check
Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Respondek, 914th Communications Squadron, client systems services specialist, performs a test on communications circuits at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y., Feb. 8, 2020.
Photo By: Peter Borys
VIRIN: 200208-F-YZ899-0019

CISA and DIU source cybersecurity capabilities from both government and industry, said Sabra Horne, chief, Innovation Hub, CISA. "The nation's ability to access commercial innovations quickly and efficiently is critical in keeping abreast of the best industry has to offer.

"We are already sharing information and practice on commercial solutions that can address needs for the nation's security," she continued. "Additionally, CISA is eager to see the procurement processes DIU has successfully developed in action and how it uses alternative procurement authorities and methods to quickly obtain commercial solutions to mission problems."

By working together, the two organizations will help each other fulfill missions, understand new threats, work together to solve challenges and coordinate investments in capabilities that aim to maximize the use of finite resources, she added.

A man in a uniform inspects a circuit board.
Circuit Board
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chidubem Duke conducts maintenance on one of the thousands of circuit boards used for cybersecurity at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, Sept. 28, 2016.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Howard
VIRIN: 160928-N-XB816-018

Kleck said CISA and DIU are sharing information broadly across all categories of cybersecurity. "The intersection of commonality is quite large.  We will learn together about areas of common interest and how the domestic application of DOD capabilities can benefit the nation."

Kleck said those categories CISA and DIU are collaborating on include:

  • Network & infrastructure security
  • Web security
  • Endpoint security
  • Application security
  • Managed security service provider
  • Data security
  • Mobile security
  • Risk and compliance
  • Security operations and incident response
  • Threat intelligence
  • Internet of things
  • Messaging security
  • Identity and access management
  • Digital risk management
  • Security consulting & services
  • Blockchain
  • Fraud and transaction security
  • Cloud security