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Pentagon Cyber Official Provides Progress Update on Zero Trust Strategy Roadmap

The Pentagon's senior information security official said today that the Defense Department is on track to implement its zero trust cybersecurity framework by fiscal year 2027 as planned.  

David McKeown, who serves as the DOD's deputy chief information officer as well as the department's senior information security officer, said his office has been hard at work to ensure a smooth rollout of the initiative after publishing the Zero Trust Strategy and Roadmap in November.   

He credited partnerships with the private sector as a key enabler of the DOD's progress toward implementing the key capabilities identified in the roadmap so far.  

"We've been partnering very heavily with commercial cloud providers, asking them to analyze their offerings, partner with other service provers to try to achieve those 91 capabilities to get us to the target of zero trust," McKeown said. "Really great relationships are forming there. 

"I think we are on a good path for 2027," he said.  

Once implemented, the zero trust framework will move the DOD beyond traditional network security methods with capabilities designed to reduce exposure to cyberattacks, enable risk management and data sharing and quickly contain and remediate adversary activities.  

A man in uniform is seated behind a computer with a large watch floor display in the background.
Cyber Command
U.S. Cyber Command members work in the Integrated Cyber Center, Joint Operations Center at Fort George G. Meade, Md., April. 2, 2021.
Photo By: Josef Cole, DOD
VIRIN: 210402-D-LA132-0010Y

McKeown said that with each step implementing the zero trust framework, the DOD becomes more secure.    

The strategy unveiled in the fall outlined four high-level goals for achieving the DOD's vision for a zero trust architecture including cultural adoption, security and defense of DOD information systems, technology acceleration and zero trust enablement.  

McKeown said achieving the goals outlined in the roadmap would be an "ambitious undertaking" when the strategy was unveiled.  

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The initiative is led by Randy Resnick, who serves as the director of the Zero Trust Portfolio Management Office.  

"He is leading the charge across the board and deploying zero trust across the DOD," McKeown said. "He is working with a lot of teammates throughout the different services and agencies to get there."  

McKeown provided the update on the DOD's progress toward implementing the zero trust framework during the Government Executive 2023 Cyber Summit in Washington.

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