DOD lays out cyber implementation plan

DOD lays out cyber implementation plan

To support its efforts to secure DOD networks, the Defense Department has released an "implementation plan" for its cybersecurity requirements.

Released by the CIO’s Office, the DOD Cybersecurity Discipline Implementation Plan covers identity authentication, reducing DOD networks' attack surface, device hardening and the alignment of computer network defenders with DOD IT systems and networks.

The implementation plan lays out a series of tasks for DOD officials, organized against the four priorities. For example, officials are charged with making sure their internal web servers require official public key infrastructure authentication, ensuring proper configuration of physical and virtual servers, disconnecting all Internet-facing web servers and web applications without "an operational requirement"  and ensuring proper incident response plans are in place.

The document, which was amended in February and publicly released in early March, goes hand in hand with a DOD cyber scorecard that grades agencies' IT security and is reviewed monthly by Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Whereas the scorecard provides a more strategic, bird's eye view for Carter, the new implementation plan targets compliance further down the chain of command. Commanders and supervisors at all levels will report their implementation progress through the Defense Readiness Reporting System.

Officials like Deputy Secretary Robert Work have said that a great majority of intrusions into Pentagon networks are the result of human error, and the implementation plan is an effort to tighten the screws on compliance.

DOD CIO Terry Halvorsen has clamped down on poor cybersecurity practices within the department, kicking irresponsible users off of networks, according to his office. Asked last October at a media roundtable if anyone at DOD had ever been fired for sloppy network use, Halvorsen said, "Absolutely."

The implementation plan follows another policy, the Cybersecurity Culture and Compliance Initiative, signed by Carter last September. That directive tasked Halvorsen's office with conducting realistic training for DOD network users to drive home the consequences of insecure practices.

This article originally appeared on FCW, a sister site to GCN.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.

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