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Cooperation Across DOD, Private Sector Critical Amid Emerging Cyber Threats

Maintaining a robust defense against emerging cyberthreats requires collaboration and cooperation throughout the Defense Department and across industry partners, a top Pentagon information security executive said today.

Principal Deputy Chief Information Officer Leslie A. Beavers warned emerging cybersecurity challenges pose a "whole of government, almost whole of society threat."

A soldier in uniform is seated at a computer workstation.
Cyber Team
A soldier assigned to a Mississippi Army National Guard cyber defense team monitors cyberattacks during Exercise Southern Strike at Camp Shelby, Miss., April 21, 2023.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Renee Seruntine
VIRIN: 230421-Z-GQ603-1519

"At the end of the day, security requires everyone to be a part of the solution," she said during a FedTalks series of discussions with government and private sector technology executives in Washington.

That principle is especially important within the DOD "where our attack surface is everyone," Beavers said, adding that "everyone has to be defensive when it comes to cyber."

Spotlight: Science & Tech

Beavers outlined several key approaches underway within DOD to combat the threat including information technology architecture and user experience modernization efforts and the transition to the zero-trust security paradigm.

An aerial view of the Pentagon with the Washington Monument in the background.
Photo Shoot
An aerial view of the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 15, 2023.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. John Wright, DOD
VIRIN: 230515-D-KY598-1341

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.

The strategy unveiled last year 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.

Beavers said she is also focused on recruiting and developing a workforce ready to tackle cybersecurity challenges into the future.

A man wears glasses that reflect a computer screen.
Eyes on the Action
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jochen Emrich, assigned to the 189th Airlift Wing, Communications Flight, Arkansas Air National Guard, assesses real-world cyber threats, Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., Dec. 5, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Porter, Air National Guard
VIRIN: 211214-Z-KV677-0058M

In accomplishing those key goals, she said close partnership with industry partners is critical.

"The Department of Defense, as large as it is, is heavily reliant on civilian infrastructure and companies as well as other government organizations," Beavers said. "It's a journey that we have to go on together."

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