The U.S. Defense Department faces many hurdles in its effort to protect and defend government computer networks. According to an unclassified version of a previously issued classified report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), several cyberspace capability gaps exist.
The Defense Department's FY 2012 budget proposal features $2.3 billion for improved cyber capabilities, according to figures released this afternoon. Key elements of that funding include $0.5 billion for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to invest in cyber technologies. Funding also will be provided to the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) for cyber identity, monitoring and enforcement.
In less than 30 days, the Defense Department will dish out 11 prizes for innovative solutions to real-world challenges facing digital forensics examiners. And it's not too late to join the fight against cyber crime. Submissions for the 2010 Defense Department Cyber Crime Center (DC3) Digital Forensics Challenge will be accepted until November 2.
A different cybersecurity culture needs to be diffused throughout the Defense Department. It will have to view cyberdefenses not as a bandage to be selectively applied to a patchwork of applications. The new cybersecurity must become an inseparable feature of every computer technology that enables our operations.
Defense Department leadership appears to be viewing cyberdefense issues primarily as a matter of policy and strategy that can be fixed incrementally. That is not possible. Cyberdefense deficiencies have became deeply rooted as result of the defective ways in which the Defense Department acquired IT over the past decades. Cyberdefense flaws are inherently enterprise-wide and are mostly not application specific.
On the heels of an announcement from U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates where he proposed eliminating the positions of assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration along with the J-6, the push to make the Defense Department more efficient continues. The INVEST Awards contest will reward the 25 best ideas submitted by department employees with cash prizes.